Meet the British Brand That Gleefully Hates 'Fatties' and Their Sympathizers

Not everyone thinks having a so-called beach body means being a svelte, bikini-clad model. Now, British people are creatively reminding one advertiser of that.

U.K. fitness brand Protein World has been running billboards in the London Underground featuring a skinny woman in a revealing swimsuit, alongside the incendiary tagline, “Are you beach body ready?”

Unsurprisingly, a number of people have taken exception to the implied standard for beauty, and have been hijacking the campaign as a canvas for messaging about positive body image—by posting new versions online.

Some of the critiques amount to simple graffiti, adding copy like, “Yes, everybody is. Love your body the way it is.” Others have gotten more inventive—like a pair of women who photographed themselves in their own bikinis in front of a copy of the ad, and pointed out that best way to get a beach body is to “take your body to the beach.”

One particularly clever satirist even cooked up a fake response ad from soap brand Dove—ever the body-image opportunist—under the umbrella of the brand’s famous Campaign for Real Beauty tagline. (“Though we think ALL bodies are beach-ready, this image was not created or sanctioned by Dove,” reads one tweet from Dove U.K. A second further explains, “We agree with 2/3 of UK women who’d prefer to see more women of all shapes & sizes.”)

The incredibly charming Protein World, for its part, seems to be relishing the backlash, taking to Twitter to blast the “insecurities” of detractors, brand them “terrorists,” and whine about a nation of “sympathizers for fatties”—while also crowing that the campaign has tripled sales and that the company has granted its public relations team a bonus. (A petition petition to remove the ads has reached 45,000 signatures, but the company’s CEO is holding out for 1 million).

In other words, the brand doesn’t want you to think it’s being persecuted for an honest, well-intentioned misstep, and would rather be crystal clear that the whole thing is an ongoing, brazen and snide attempt at trolling that is playing out pretty much exactly as intended.

Or maybe its execs just sat out in the sun too long.

Via Work That Matters.

Chicago Ad Fed Likens Creative Skill to Penis Size, Angering Those Without a Penis

It’s not just dudes in the Chicago ad scene. But promos for the city’s American Advertising Awards show, happening next Wednesday, certainly seem to think everyone has a penis.

“Who measured up?” says the headline on the ad below, as we see men and women all lined up at urinals. See, they’re all sneaking a peek at each other’s privates—a metaphor for gauging each other’s creative worth as though it were their penis size.

In an industry with a famous lack of female creative directors, you’d have to expect some backlash against something like this. And indeed, a number of women have complained on Twitter that the campaign is disrespectful.

Copywriter Susan Morris wrote a scathing blog post about the campaign that’s been circulating in the community. “The Chicago Advertising Federation is one of America’s oldest and largest ad organizations,” she writes. “On its Board of Directors, 12 men and 16 women. Apparently all of them think this ad is funny. I don’t.”

We reached out to the Chicago Ad Federation, whose executive director, Patrick Farrey, strongly defended the campaign.

“Great advertising is almost always risk-taking, if not occasionally irreverent,” he tells us in a statement. “There is no doubt that the promotional campaign for the 2015 CAF American Advertising Awards competition pushed the envelope. Our intent was not to offend anyone, but rather to inspire the Chicago ad community to submit their best work into our long-standing, highly respected competition.”

He adds: “This campaign did exactly what good advertising is supposed to do—get noticed, start a dialogue, raise awareness and generate sales. The Chicago Advertising Federation received a record number of competition entries this year!”

What’s your take on the campaign? Does it actually measure up?

Urban Outfitters Just Hit a New Low by Selling Bloody Kent State Sweatshirt

Filed under: The most WTF thing we’ve seen in months.

Urban Outfitters, purveyor of clothing and home goods, big-ass floppy hats and occasionally offensive T-shirts, has outdone itself with this product on its website—a “vintage” Kent State University sweatshirt featuring fake blood splatters.

In 1970, the Ohio National Guard fired on a group of unarmed anti-war student protesters at Kent State, killing four and wounding nine others.

The sweatshirt sold out quickly, because there was only one. (“We only have one, so get it or regret it!” said the description.) Now it’s listed on eBay by someone who says he/she will “give 50% of the profit to the Southern Poverty Law Center, who protect those who cannot protect themselves, often those who are victims of police brutality.”

If this is an elaborate PR play from a desperate brand, as it would seem, it’s a pathetic one. With Twitter and Facebook teeming with Rage Against the Urban Outfitters, I’m guessing throngs of people are going to buy their big-ass floppy hats elsewhere.

Via BuzzFeed.

Is Apple's 'Perspective' Film a Bit Too Much Like OK Go's Recent Viral Video?

Does the three-minute “Perspective” film that kicked off Apple’s product event on Tuesday borrow ideas from a popular music video by OK Go? The band seems to think so and is weighing its legal options, its manager, Andy Gershon, tells Bloomberg Businessweek.

Both “Perspective” and OK Go’s “The Writing’s on the Wall” video take place inside large white rooms and rely on optical illusions. In Apple’s mainly black-and-white video, tricks of perspective make inspirational slogans like “See things differently” and “Follow a vision” appear as the camera pans around.

OK Go’s more colorful film sees band members interacting with various objects in different ways to create a series of hypnotic visuals. That video has been viewed more than 10 million times since June and won an MTV Video Music Award for optical effects.

Perhaps most damningly, Gershon says OK Go pitched its visual concept to Apple in April, hoping for a collaboration with the brand, but the company declined. After OK Go made its own video, Apple hired the same production company, 1stAveMachine, to create “Perspective.”

Apple did not immediately respond to AdFreak’s requests for comment.

In advertising and other creative fields, it’s not unusual for similar concepts to crop up in work from different sources. Tricks of perspective have been used in several notable campaigns lately, including this trippy Honda CR-V spot from 2013, which some found derivative of an earlier ad by Audi.

For Apple, it’s a particularly thorny issue, though, because appearing to borrow concepts from others repudiates the brand’s core message of being original and innovative. Simply put, Gershon believes Apple didn’t think differently enough when creating its film. “The videos speak for themselves,” he says, “and you can draw your own conclusions.”

Anthropologie Learns a Lesson in How Not to Treat Breastfeeding Moms

It’s World Breastfeeding Month, but Anthropologie doesn’t want to see your boobs.

Ingrid Wiese Hesson claims she was unceremoniously escorted off an Anthropologie sales floor and into a stock-room bathroom for breastfeeding her baby. (Remind you of any ads?) Here’s the email she sent to the company, and then posted to Facebook:

I’m writing to share an unfortunate event that occurred at the Beverly Hills anthropologie location. As a long time Anthro member and loyalist, it seemed natural to do my first postpartum shopping outing at Anthroologie. Anxious to use my birthday discount, I brought my six week old infant along and we both smiled as I walked away from the register with $700 worth of Breastfeeding friendly clothing. But baby began to cry and I found a chair at the back of the store and sat down to feed him. Imagine my surprise when the manager Meredith approached, “I’m here to escort you to the ladies room where you can finish feeding your baby.” Shocked. I unlatched the infant, he began to cry, and we did the walk of shame to the stock room bathroom. There was nothing but a toilet in the room. “Sorry we don’t have a chair.” I left the store embarrassed and called back to talk to Meredith and verify what I had just experienced. “I thought you and the other customers would be more comfortable off the sales floor,” she explained. Please inform Meredith that CA law grants me the right to Breastfeed in public. As a store that caters to women, I would hope your staff would be more understanding. Meredith said, “we must be fair to all the customers, not just moms.” Meredith, moms are customers too. At least the many women that have already liked my Facebook post in the past hour seem to think so. Shame on you anthropologie.

Hesson’s story has been circulating through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram like wildfire. The Anthropologie manager’s actions were not just unwise, they were also in violation of Hesson’s legal rights. From the California Civil Code: “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a mother may breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, except the private home or residence of another, where the mother and the child are otherwise authorized to be present.”

People have been tweeting and leaving messages on Anthropologie’s Facebook page, threatening to boycott. A nurse-in at the specific Beverly Hills Anthropologie was arranged:

Finally, Anthropologie responded with a somewhat vague PR cut-and-paste, saying:

We are disappointed to hear of the unfortunate experience that occurred in our Beverly Hills store. As a company comprised of hundreds of mothers, which seeks to put the customer first, we celebrate women in all of their life stages. Given our staff’s dedication to providing exceptional customer service, we welcome this as an opportunity to enhance our customer experience by providing further training and education for our staff. Our aim is that all women—all mothers—be comfortable in our stores and delight in their relationship with Anthropologie.

The craziest part? All of this has gone down in the past 23 hours. Technology is wild and impressive, but somehow people are still asking me to fax them documents? Weird.

Photo via Flickr.

Levi's Banned Some Music Fans From Free Show For Not Wearing Its Jeans

Levi’s has landed itself in a little hot water, after shutting music fans out of a free concert for failing to wear the brand’s clothes to the show.

Last week, two popular bands, Haim, and Sleigh Bells, played at New York City’s Brooklyn Bridge Park in an event sponsored by the jeans-wear company. Levi’s stipulated ahead of time that the price-for-entry was to show up wearing a piece of the brand’s denim. But apparently not everyone got the message. Dozens of people were turned away at the gate for failing to comply, the Daily News reports

It’s an odd scenario: The rules seem clear enough, but also arguably unnecessary and ultimately self-defeating. If the idea of the brand footing the bill for the concert was to generate goodwill among its own fans, then it’s pretty illogical to leave a bad taste in the mouths of target consumers by refusing them access (even if they hadn’t shelled out cash for any of its denim, yet). Building a sense of community and exclusivity around a product can be a good thing. Coming across as excessively mercenary—or simply tacky—is definitely not, especially in an era where negative impressions can reverberate quickly online.

On the other hand, fans feeling entitled to gain access to a free concert doesn’t really inspire much sympathy either. It’s not like putting on a pair of pants is the hardest thing in the world to do… even for a millennial.

Unwitting Star of Burger King's 'Blow Job Ad' Finally Lashes Out at the Company

Five years after a famously suggestive Burger King ad ran in Singapore, the woman who appeared in it—without her permission, she says—has publicly excoriated the fast-food chain for humiliating her.

The woman, who has not revealed her identity, posted a YouTube video on Tuesday in which she explains her side of the story. And it isn’t pretty.

“Burger King found my photo online from a series I did of various facial expressions and contortion poses, and with no due regard to me as a person, profited off reducing me to an orifice for their penis sludge; publicly humiliating me in the process,” she writes in the video description.

“Friends, family, coworkers, prospective employers who saw it assume I was a willing player. Those offended by it don’t know the extent of what’s wrong with the ad; that I didn’t know about this being done to my image, let alone agree to or pose for the scenario.”

The woman even likens BK’s treatment of her image to sexual assault: “I believe in sexual expression in art and the media; it’s beautiful and necessary for a healthy society but IT MUST BE CONSENSUAL otherwise it’s RAPE.”

She ends her missive with the hashtag #SuckOnYourOwnSlimySevenIncher.

The 2009 ad has truly become a famous “badvertising” image. Indeed, the woman says it was just recently the topic of discussion in a large media studies class at a university in Toronto, where she lives.

In an email sent last year to ad blogger Copyranter, the woman said she had only just found out about the ad and was looking into her legal options.

BK did not explicitly apologize for the ad back in 2009, when it appeared on a number of ad blogs, including this one. But it did release a statement saying it “values and respects all of its guests,” and noted that the ad ran only in Singapore and in no other markets.

AdFreak has reached out to BK for comment on the new video. We’ll update when we hear back. Below is the full ad, and the woman’s complete description on her YouTube video:

Burger King found my photo online from a series I did of various facial expressions and contortion poses, and with no due regard to me as a person, profited off reducing me to an orifice for their penis sludge; publicly humiliating me in the process. It was shown online as well as on bus stops and the walls and place mats of their restaurant.

When asked for comment from the press Burger King claimed the campaign went down well, however after some research I discovered The Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (where it was released) received several complaints and the campaign had to be prematurely removed.

This is a top International food chain the world is watching that has a code of ethics they’re required to adhere to for that reason by law but did not in how they went about using my image.

Now due to the coverage its received (Time Magazine’s Top Ten Tasteless Ads, Business Insider, Buzzfeed, Gawker, Psychology Today to name a few) it’s part of the public domain. Just recently it was the topic of discussion in a media studies class of 500 students at the University of Toronto – where I live… and posted to the class Facebook discussion page.

Friends, family, coworkers, prospective employers who saw it assume I was a willing player. Those offended by it don’t know the extent of what’s wrong with the ad; that I didn’t know about this being done to my image, let alone agree to or pose for the scenario.

Why not hire a model to pose with the sandwich?

There is something VERY wrong with the fact that they felt entitled to do that to my face without signing a contract with me.

I believe in sexual expression in art and the media; it’s beautiful and necessary for a healthy society but IT MUST BE CONSENSUAL otherwise it’s RAPE.

Nice family restaurant you’re running there Burger King.

#boycottbk #facerape


Comic Icon Archie Will Die Taking a Bullet for a Gay Politician

Archie Andrews, the iconic American comic book character introduced 73 years ago, will die this month when he takes a bullet meant for an openly gay U.S. Senator who supports stricter gun control.

His death (which we should note isn’t much of a spoiler since it was revealed by the creators months ago) occurs in Life With Archie No. 36, and its aftermath will be featured in No. 37, the final volume of a series that follows the grown-up adventures of the character and his pals from Riverdale, USA. The more familiar teenage Archie lives on in other titles, which, like many comics, have their own continuities. 

Archie has focused on serious social topics quite a lot in recent years, with stories exploring cancer, death, affordable healthcare and gay marriage. (The wedding of his friend, Kevin Keller, sparked a boycott from conservative group One Million Moms in 2012.) The main character’s death, however, clearly ups the ante and has generated considerable media attention since the twist was revealed in April. (The details of Archie’s death weren’t disclosed until this week, and the shooter’s identity hasn’t been disclosed.)

Major comic book characters have “died” before, notably Superman, Captain Marvel and Spider-Man, but Archie’s demise is different because he’s a mortal with no special powers who sacrifices himself in a politically charged narrative.

“He’s human. He’s a person. When you wound him, he bleeds. He knows that. If anything, I think his death is more impactful because of that,” Archie publisher and co-CEO John Goldwater told the Associated Press. “We hope by showing how something so violent can happen to Archie, that we can—in some way—learn from him.”

For the most part, public reaction has been mixed, and mainly split along progressive/conservative lines. One Huffington Post commenter says Archie’s writers have “taken this venerable old line and breathed a new essence into it,” while another chides, “It is exasperating to see the extent of childish propaganda in our society.”

A Verge reader asks, “Is it really appropriate to take a character that’s been a comic book character and a pop culture icon for 70+ years and to kill him off for the sake of a modern political statement? That’s like… killing off Donald Duck to protest the Vietnam War, or killing off Charlie Brown to protest the Affordable Care Act.”

Some question whether a potentially powerful message is undermined by offing Archie in one story arc while he remains youthful and alive in other series still available on newsstands. “While I’m all for tackling tough issues in comics, my problem is that Archie isn’t going to stay dead,” writes a commenter at “When you write a story tackling something like gun violence, when the main character of the book eventually comes back the whole point of the story loses its weight.”

Chris Cummins, who follows comics at, takes a broader view, and believes that Archie’s martyrdom is in keeping with his selfless personality and true to the spirit of the overall series: “This demise is a fitting and tonally perfect tribute to a character who has always put his friends first.”

Brilliant Ad Protesting the Redskins Nickname Airs During the NBA Finals

Miami stumbled in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, but a Native American tribe turned up the heat. The Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation of California ran a 60-second spot protesting the Washington Redskins nickname during Tuesday’s game—a cutdown of the two-minute version below, which broke online just before the Super Bowl.

In the spot, a narrator lists many of the ways Native Americans describe themselves. These include “proud,” “forgotten,” “Indian,” “indomitable,” “survivor” and “patriot.” In the end, we’re told, “Native Americans call themselves many things. The one thing they don’t …” and a shot of the Redskins helmet fills the screen.

The commercial aired Tuesday in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Sacramento, San Francisco and, of course, Washington, D.C. The tribe ran the same spot in Miami during Game 2 on Sunday.

Last year, the Oneida Nation produced a series of pointed, high-profile radio ads on the subject, and the timing of the Yocha Dehe Wintun TV buy, against the backdrop of the Donald Sterling racism scandal, adds significant fuel to the fire.

You know what else Native Americans are? Media savvy, and skillful at playing the PR game. Redskins owner Dan Snyder, who famously told USA Today he’d never change the name—”NEVER. You can use caps”—looks more tone-deaf, mean-spirited and, in the eyes of some, flat-out racist the longer he holds the line. A Redskins rep declined to comment for this post, but Snyder has steadfastly maintained the name is not offensive but a badge of honor, and respectful of Native Americans.

Even if that’s what Snyder and many die-hard fans truly believe, bad feelings will fester the longer this drags on. With each NFL season, we’ll get more parking-lot protests at Redskins games, more commentators parsing the controversy on halftime shows and more indignant sports columnists who refer to the club as the R*dskins or “The Washington Football Team.”

Ultimately, Snyder will be remembered as the villain, a guy who fumbled an opportunity to stand up for change and perhaps ignite the passions of a whole new generation—a legacy he could have been proud of.

Ogilvy Apologizes for Shooting Malala Yousafzai in Mattress Ad

Someone at Ogilvy India thought it would be a good idea to depict Malala Yousafzai being shot by the Taliban to sell Kurl-On mattresses. Clearly it wasn't.

Ogilvy has now officially apologized for the ad, saying it is "contrary to the beliefs and professional standards of Ogilvy & Mather and our clients." It was originally sent to Ads of the World, which has since taken it down, though you can still see the full ad on AOTW's Facebook page. (The concept is that Kurl-On mattresses help you "Bounce back." The Malala ad shows her falling after being shot, bouncing off a mattress and rising to receive a humanitarian award.)

Other ads in the series featured Steve Jobs being ousted by Apple and Gandhi being tossed off a train for refusing to move from first class. I can only imagine the creatives said, "Geez, we should probably get a woman in there." And Malala is a great choice. Except what happened to her wasn't a cartoon, which is where the whole thing falls apart. Plus, she didn't just "bounce back." She soared above. The ad really is the ultimate trivialization of a horrific event.

Malala has appeared in ads—most notably, Bing's "Heroic Women of 2013" spot. But you know, celebrating her strength and courage is different than shooting her again.

What do you think? If you think the world is way too sensitive now and offended over everything, let me know in the comments without threatening to shoot me. That won't help your point.

Trained Dancers Are Completely Appalled by This Ballet Ad for Free People Clothing

Imagine a Gatorade ad where a kicker misses every field goal, or a Nike spot where a runner trips over hurdles. It would be a little bizarre.

Something similar, though perhaps not as obvious to the average viewer, happens in this ad from Free People clothing, and it has many trained dancers in an uproar. The spot and the print ads all feature a model in beautiful Free People clothing and pointe shoes, but it's painfully obvious she's not an experienced dancer. Dancers do not go on pointe without having extensive training—and frankly, really strong ankles.

This photo on the Free People site has dancers riled up, too.

I spoke with a friend who's a former pro dancer: "Like other sports, ballet is super athletic, and to be on your toes in pointe shoes is not something you just do. You need very good training," she said.

Me: "It's not just that she's improperly posed, is that correct? It's also dangerous?"

Her: "It's super dangerous. Her foot is sickled. Her ankles are not supporting her body and her position well."

The comments on Free People's YouTube channel and Facebook page echo those thoughts.

"Has she been TRAINED????? Her feet are TERRIBLE, her lines are TERRIBLE… I could go on. This is OFFENSIVE to dancers out there. You went and decided to cast some local 'ballet dancer' because she had your look. Shame on you, there are plenty of professionals out there that would have looked stunning in this."

"Please take this shit down."

"This is genuinely offensive to people who are actually dancers. It's clear she hasn't been dancing since she was three … next time hire a professional to model dance-wear.?"

Free People should take some dance lessons from Under Armour, which is doing it right with American Ballet Theatre soloist Misty Copeland.

We've reached out to Free People for their point of view and will update when we hear back.

Is This Obscure European Sock Company the World’s Worst Advertiser?

There's dark humor, and then there's morbid humor. And then there are these French-made ads for Burlington socks, which likely don't qualify as any sort of humor whatsoever. 

The brand's newest ad opens on the deathbed of a weeping grandfather clinging to his last threads of life. When his initially sympathetic grandson notices the dying man is sporting some nice socks, he decides to mock Grandpa's suffering and then gleefully murder him.

"I've seen a lot of shock campaigns," writes veteran ad critic Marc van Gurp on his cause marketing site, Osocio. "But this French spot from sock brand Burlington exceeds all bounds of decency."

Sadly, the euthanasia ad isn't even the worst one created for the German brand by French agency Pain Surprises, which may or may not be creating these spots under a legitimate ad contract. (Burlington France's supposed Facebook and Twitter channels only mention the agency's work, which seems suspect, although several reports in the French press say it's a real brand campaign.)

Last October, they posted a spot that's one big joke about a mom appearing to perform sex acts on her young son. (Spoiler alert: She's not.) You can check out that uncomfortable oddity below. 

Then there's the ad from earlier last year that opens with a naked man saying, "Look at me, motherfuckers." There's more to it, but there's not really more to it.

Some will (logically) argue that we shouldn't give undue attention to ads that are this morally bankrupt. But sometimes it's good to scrape the bottom of the barrel to see what's festering down there and remind ourselves that American advertising's not quite as repugnant as it could be. Um, yay? 

Warning: Video contains NSFW language (and a naked guy).


D.C. Metro Ad Says Women Care More About Shoes Than Train Reliability

The D.C. Metro's newest ad campaign, dubbed "Metro Forward," took a giant step backward recently with a sexist print ad that suggests women would rather talk about shoes than public transport reliability. The not-so-subtle subtext, according to critics, is that women (specifically the Metro's riders) are too vapid to care about matters of import.

"The point of the ad is to get people talking about Metro's massive rebuilding effort by juxtaposing technical facts with a variety of light responses in conversation between friends," a Metro spokesperson tells

In a version of the campaign featuring two men, when asked whether he'd noticed some new hardware installed on the train, the guy's punch line is, "No, Billy, not so much." What, no mention of beer, power tools or watching some sports last night?

The sexism of the women-oriented ad is particularly egregious and laughable because it's so lazy. "Ladies and their shoes" is a punch line you'd hear on late-night TV 25 years ago, and it wasn't funny then, either. Luckily for us, this is one of those advertising blunders where the parodies will be much better executed because more thought will have been put into them than in the original.


GoldieBlox Deletes Beastie Boys Song but Not Without a Few Choice Words for the Band

GoldieBlox went from hero to zero in one short week, putting our ad-loving hearts through a roller coaster of emotions. Now, it's belatedly making amends by removing its parody of the Beastie Boys' "Girls" from its mega-popular "Princess Machine" ad—and posting its own "open letter" to the band (and the world) telling its side of the story.

To recap: GoldieBlox last week released an empowering spot using a rewritten version "Girls" as the soundtrack to breaking gender roles in the toy space. (Sample lyrics: "It's time to change/We deserve to see a range/'Cause all our toys look just the same/And we would like to use our brains.") The ad was clever and cool, and everyone loved it—except they failed to ask the Beastie Boys for permission to use the song. The band objected, and GoldieBlox sued to have its soundtrack declared fair use. That precipitated a PR nightmare (especially after the Beasties' posted a frankly damning open letter in response). So now, GoldieBlox has surrendered—deleting the video, posting a new one with a more generic soundtrack and releasing its own lengthy statement about the affair.

"We don't want to fight with you. We love you and we are actually huge fans," GoldieBlox founder Debra Sterling writes. She goes on to defend her intentions but says "our hearts sank last week when your lawyers called us with threats." Sterling says she had no idea the late Adam Yauch was opposed to using his music in ads (not every "huge fan" of Yauch's knows this, apparently, even one who is looking into doing just that), and adds: "We don't want to spend our time fighting legal battles. We want to inspire the next generation. We want to be good role models. And we want to be your friends."

It's basically a passive-aggressive non-apology, casting the Beastie Boys as bullies and GoldieBlox as the victim—and also, irritatingly, the bigger person. The company suddenly doesn't want to fight a legal battle, even though it started one. And it wants to be friends, even though it's spent a week trying to be enemies.

Perhaps this bitterness is understandable. The company had a huge hit on its hands—deleting it must be tough to swallow. And the new spot (posted below), without the Beastie Boys song, definitely has less energy—although maybe it just seems that way because most of us are sort of over it.


Beastie Boys, GoldieBlox Fight Over ‘Girls.’ Is It Copyright Infringement or Fair Use?

UPDATE 2: The Beastie Boys released this statement Monday:

    Like many of the millions of people who have seen your toy commercial "GoldieBlox, Rube Goldberg & the Beastie Boys," we were very impressed by the creativity and the message behind your ad.
    We strongly support empowering young girls, breaking down gender stereotypes and igniting a passion for technology and engineering.
    As creative as it is, make no mistake, your video is an advertisement that is designed to sell a product, and long ago, we made a conscious decision not to permit our music and/or name to be used in product ads.
    When we tried to simply ask how and why our song "Girls" had been used in your ad without our permission, YOU sued US.

UPDATE: A rep for the Beastie Boys tells the Huffington Post that the band has not made any claim against GoldieBlox, saying: "There was no complaint filed, no demand letter (no demand, for that matter) when [GoldieBlox] sued Beastie Boys."

Original item below:
The feel-good ad of the month has taken a feel-bad turn. The Beastie Boys apparently have a problem with GoldieBlox's version of their song "Girls" in the overnight smash-hit "Princess Machine" commercial, which recast the track with new lyrics as an empowerment anthem for little girls. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the band has allegedly threatened legal action, claiming copyright infringement, and the toy company has preemptively filed its own lawsuit asking that its version of the song be considered fair use—a common defense in cases involving parody material. The sticking point for GoldieBlox may be that "Princess Machine" is expressly designed to sell toys, and thus is a commercial endeavor at least as much as it is a sociological statement, but it will be up to a court to decide. The Beastie Boys, meanwhile, risk looking like they're censoring a worthwhile message that has enthralled millions—though of course it's hard to protect your intellectual property if you're willing to look the other way now and then based on ideology or pressure from the public. You can read GoldieBlox's full complaint here.


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Austin Bar Makes Amends After Putting Out the Year’s Worst Sidewalk Sign

There are awesome chalkboard sidewalk signs, and there are less awesome chalkboard sidewalk signs. Minibar, a bar in Austin, Texas, recently put out a less awesome chalkboard sidewalk sign—and then scrambled to contain the damage.

The sign above would be bad enough at any time of year, but particularly so in October, which is domestic violence awareness month. (Also, sorry, but Heineken is an import.) An Austin resident who works at a women's shelter in town posted a photo of the sign on Instagram and Facebook, and it was soon picked up nationally.

The bar moved quickly to atone for the offense, firing the person responsible and pledging to donate $1 of every domestic beer sold this month to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. (Check out the Facebook comments for proof of how welcome this kind of swift, decisive action can be among consumers.) Might be time for copywriting lessons, too.