9:32 pm - 12/10/2012

Holy. Shit.

An advertisement for Virgin Mobile that hints at sexual assault was recently pulled after Twitter users (including Richard Branson) raged.

The print ad features a middle-aged man standing behind a woman. He's covering her eyes with one hand and holds a wrapped gift in the other. The caption reads: "The gift of Christmas surprise. Necklace? Or chloroform?"

Chloroform is sometimes used in assaults to make the victim pass out. The sketchy attempt at humor angered just about everyone who saw it. The Guardian UK reported that Twitter comments included "This advert is a disgrace. The suggesttion (sic) of violence is not funny and perpetuates misogyny" and "@virginmobileus u think normalisation of rape or violence is funny?"

Branson, who sold Virgin Mobile USA to Sprint Nextel several years ago, responded to the outrage on the Virgin Group site. "Having just seen, for the first time, the Virgin Mobile US advert which has upset many today, I agree it is ill-judged.

Although I don't own the company, it carries our brand. I will speak to the team there, make my thoughts clear and see what can be done about it. Virgin Mobile US usually get these things right, although on this occasion it is clear they have gone too far."

Branson later posted an update explaining that the post was made by an "external agency that was not approved by Virgin Mobile US. They acknowledge a dreadful mistake was made. The advert, along with the whole calendar, has been removed, never to be seen again."

Except on the Internet, where nothing is ever really gone.


I honestly expected that it was some 4chan/Reddit hack, it's utterly disgusting that something of this level was earnestly posted as "funny".
hahahey 11th-Dec-2012 02:49 am (UTC)
such ~gangsters~
caitie_roxs13 11th-Dec-2012 02:50 am (UTC)
Wow that's a lot more women than I thought there would be. Can't believe this ad actual went through. Smh.
kurtvonnegut 11th-Dec-2012 02:52 am (UTC)
i can. men are so crazy about attacking every woman who brings up something that has even a whiff of feminism so sometimes you start to just fall in line
manaconda 11th-Dec-2012 02:57 am (UTC)
when men make up more than half the room there's nothing but trouble if an issue like this comes up. and there are always ~cool girls who buy into this kind of humor.
twenty21one 11th-Dec-2012 06:12 am (UTC)
i mean in this situation, it's probably just one of virgin's directors that approved the chloroform thing, which was shown to them by an ad agency before it went online. the whole team in the photo probably isn't responsible. I doubt most of them saw it before it went up.

they may have helped come up with the overall concept, but the all of the people in the photo probably don't approve everything that goes up. what was this campaign anyway? i doubt the overall idea was "rape or gift?"
manaconda 11th-Dec-2012 02:51 am (UTC)
that is one of the saddest groups of ppl i've seen since kirk cameron's bday party.
saintssin 11th-Dec-2012 03:03 am (UTC)
swissbeauty23 11th-Dec-2012 03:04 am (UTC)
nene718 11th-Dec-2012 03:29 am (UTC)
omg all those women

fwee_prower 11th-Dec-2012 03:47 am (UTC)
it looks like more women than men.
hershelwalker 11th-Dec-2012 04:04 am (UTC)
lack_ofcolour 11th-Dec-2012 04:33 am (UTC)
"These gangsters", lmfao. I bet this is a 30-something white guy. But seriously... there's around a dozen or so people here, and not ONE of them was like "hey, that could be construed as date rape, maybe we should rethink this"? It's one thing to make a stupid ~racy~ meme and pass it along to your buddy, but it's another to make a public ad campaign out of it. Just... really. I can't believe not a single one of these people thought this through.
beatlesluv 11th-Dec-2012 05:50 am (UTC)
Pieces of shit
solid_girl 11th-Dec-2012 12:43 pm (UTC)
I've never heard of a client side strategy team coming up with a specific creative concept. I doubt they even saw the creative tbh. If anything it was the marketing director and the ad agency who should be blamed. But meh.

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