Children were seen in the series of commercials carrying the company’s “plush bear backpacks.” Another advertisement using the company’s well-known “hourglass bag” has also drawn criticism, according to The Independent.
Clothing, including fishnet tops, lockable collars, and studded harnesses, was quickly called out by detractors, who questioned if it was appropriate to use children to sell them.
Along with the “hourglass bag,” the aforementioned photoshoot for Balenciaga’s “Toy Stories” campaign also includes a document outlining a Supreme Court ruling on indecent images that can be found among papers spread across a table.
In a statement shared on the fashion house’s Instagram Stories, the brand expressed regret for any offense caused by the advertisements showing young children holding the bags, which many people criticized online as being “disgusting” and “over-sexualized.” “We truly apologize if our Christmas campaign offended you. In this advertisement, children should not have been shown holding our plush bear bags. The campaign was promptly taken off from all platforms.
After it was noted that the papers on the table looked to contain court paperwork connected to a contentious child pornography-related case, Balenciaga issued a second apology two hours later.
The complete text of the second statement was, “We apologize for making disturbing documents available throughout our campaign. We are pursuing legal action because we take this issue very seriously.
One Twitter user who commented on the advertisements called the brand’s marketing strategy “disgusting” and claimed that they had overused the “shock factor.” They stated, “This is really nasty. I appreciate that a lot of Balenciaga’s marketing is the’shock element’ of it all.
“The brand Balenciaga just made an uh… intriguing photograph for their new products recently which contained a very purposefully badly hidden court paperwork concerning ‘virtual child porn’ regular stuff,” wrote one person in response to the brand.
Others questioned whether brand ambassador Kim Kardashian would participate in the campaign to denounce it. The reality star has remained silent thus far. Additionally having worked with Balenciaga, model Bella Hadid deleted her Instagram post promoting the brand