Designer Kenneth Cole has taken down a billboard that angered teachers' unions and education advocates.
The ad, for a red blazer and pants, said "Shouldn't everyone be well red?" and included the tagline "Teachers' rights vs. Students' rights" and the web address WhereDoYouStand.com. Those who visited the site were then asked, "Should underperforming teachers be protected?"
It's not the first time an advertisement has ruffled feathers. In fact, this misstep is tame by comparison to plenty of other campaigns that have hit the mainstream.
Remember when Calvin Klein came out with those creepy CK ads featuring half-naked, underaged kids being filmed by a creepy director? Abercrombie & Fitch takes a page out of that book almost annually with its catalog, which could be called "Naked Kids Fall 2013." It's like the teen clothing company banks on the press its controversial ads will get it every year.
But that's nothing compared to what Molson faced after launching a campaign to find the best party school in America. It asked students to upload their pictures to Facebook and said it would award whoever uploaded the most pics with a trip to Mexico. The site was flooded with images of underage drinkers in compromising positions.
Burger King recently learned a lesson in racial sensitivity when one of its unfinished commercials leaked to the Internet featuring African-American singer Mary J. Blige singing the praises of fried chicken.
Speaking of racism, how about this SalesGenie.com commercial that aired during the Superbowl? It has pandas selling bamboo furniture, but in uber-offensive, buffoonish Chinese accents. One of them is even named Ching-Ching:
To wash the bad taste out of your mouth, we'll leave you with a classic commercial that got it right: Apple's classic homage to George Orwell's 1984: