A Little Leg, A Lot Of Fun

This is an odd spot for Old Navy, although somewhat entertaining in a mindless I don’t have nearly enough sundresses kind of way. But, for some in the audience, it’s also loaded.

Nazneen Patel , writer and political provocateur, recognizes that “it’s obnoxious and counterproductive to cry ‘RACE’ every time something like this makes an appearance. Yet, she can’t help herself.

Among the many vitriolic stereotypes leveraged against the African-American community, one of the most incendiary has been the hypersexualization of Black men and women. Black men are always portrayed as the savage, sexually-superior antithesis to all things decent about white men. Black women are thought of as subhuman, irresponsible, and promiscuous.
When a Black woman sees a mannequin meant to resemble her, from the hairstyle to skin color, to the twangy regional dialect, it’s hard to separate the mannequin from what it represents. It becomes difficult to understand why she is stripped of her clothing and left standing there with her “plastic” unmentionables censored. It just seems a little unnecessary doesn’t it? Why even go there?

I don’t want to belittle this criticism any more than is necessary, but I can easily see the other side of this. That the black woman is the most comfortable in her skin. Rip the dress off any of those white ladies and they’d shrivel up and cry.
What I do want to know though is why the little girl rips the dress of the lady in the first place? Is she a shoplifter? Or just another out or control pre-teen on the loose in an American mall?

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. “This is an odd spot for Old Navy, although somewhat entertaining in a mindless I don’t have nearly enough sundresses kind of way.”
    Mindless? Yes. Entertaining? No way. The dialog is inane, the directing is amateurish and the voiceovers are as lifeless as the mannequins themselves. This is the kind of insipid, insulting work that gives advertising a bad name.
    Other than that, how did you enjoy the play, Mrs. Lincoln?

  2. Okay, but the legs joke is kind of funny.

  3. Saw a blurb in the trades about the upcoming Supermodelquin campaign.
    Thought it sounded kind of funny and might have merit.
    Saw the spots.
    Was really let down by the hamfisted dialogue, lazy voice casting and unsuccessful attempts at wackiness.
    Realized the Supermodelquin name isn’t enough to make most non-ad people simply think Old Navy can’t afford real actors anymore.
    Took a lesson from that: if the executions fall flat, the punny campaign name doesn’t matter. No matter how well it jibes with the Planners’ PPT deck. (That no one in the real world ever sees.)
    Just hope the idea came easy. If the creatives were in the office 24/7 (in typical Crispin style) with only this kind of work to show for it, then I’m afraid the mannequins aren’t the only dummies on the account.