Hair Salon Defends Domestic Violence-y Ad

“Look good in all that you do” is not a slogan you expect to see next to a woman with a nasty-looking black eye. Then again, no one denies the Fluid hair salon in Edmonton, Alberta, was not trying to shock. The ad depicts a woman with a funky hairdo and a black eye sitting on a couch, while an attractive man in a suit stands behind her holding a diamond necklace. For myself and many others, the ad suggests domestic violence — gratuitous domestic violence, actually, because it’s an ad for a freakin’ hair salon.

Insinuating domestic violence is perfectly within Fluid’s rights, of course, and as to be expected, the salon owner is getting huffy about free speech. “Everyone is getting so sensitive,” Sarah Cameron told the Edmonton Sun. “Anyone who has a connection or a story behind anything can be upset or have an opinion. We are not trying to attack anyone. Please interpret the ad as freedom dictates — that is your right — just as artistic expression is our right. If survivors of abuse interpret this ad to make light of any abusive situation, we sincerely apologize.” She’s right, of course, but this “artistic expression” excuse is such a cop-out. That’s what every advertiser and/or artist says when they’ve been whapped on the nose for depicting or glamorizing violence against women. Somehow I doubt Sarah Cameron is Alberta’s biggest free speech advocate; I suspect she’s just pissy because she’s in trouble.

All that could have been averted, though, by practicing better judgment. Fluid’s domestic violence ad is not the only one of its ads to glamorize violence against women, but strangely, it also has several other ads which depict women in what could been described as “empowering” situations. Take a look:

Fluid’s ad depicting one woman pulling another woman out of a hearse, high-heeled feet first, is another “Was this really necessary?” example. I sincerely don’t see why ads like this are considered “edgy” anymore.

This Fluid ad is pretty kickass — and I think drives home the point of the “Look good in all you do” ad campaign the best.

Ditto on this ad.

So, you wanted attention, Fluid, and you got it. It’s admirable that Sarah Cameron has promised to make a donation to the Edmonton’s Women’s Shelter anytime anyone comes into Fluid and mentions the ad. I wish that was something you just did out of the goodness of your heart, though, and not as a concession for bad press. [AdWeek]