Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Kenneth Cole is for getting AIDS.

This amfAR bus poster is, of course, supposed to read "WE'RE FORGETTING AIDS" with a secondary read of "WE'RE GETTING AIDS" to remind everybody that HIV is still spreading. Buuut, can't it also read "WE'RE FOR GETTING AIDS" as in amfAR supports the spread of disease? This is what happens when you allow hack punster Kenneth Cole, who promotionally owns AIDS, to do your ads. It's just another lost battle in the war on words for the worst copywriter in the history of advertising (yes, he indeed writes the lines himself). He's even had pun with the homeless. (thanks to Jessie Birks for the tip) update: how do you read the ad? go to polls boutique to vote.


Blogger Ted said...

Mamma mia, this is bad!
It reminds me the work of Olivero Toscani here in Italy.
He does this king of fake-provocative ads.

9:09 AM  
Blogger Mona said...

wow. that is alarming.

9:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've got a call into Day Pitney to see if Kenneth Cole can be sued for "advertising malpractice."

Wait a second, they might be incriminating themselves if they concede that. Better call DYKEMA instead...

10:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Couldn't it also be read as "We're for getting AIDS" as in Keystone Kops "There they go guys– Let's get them!"

or not.

11:40 AM  
Blogger gr said...

There's yet a fourth reading: the purpose of wearing KC's clothes is to get AIDS.


11:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For me, the "getting" went to the background and I saw the secondary read as "We're for AIDS"

4:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At this point, PR should come into play and the company spokesperson needs to take some sort of action to clarify the message. There is too much room for misinterpretation (as all of you can attest to).

8:27 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Just ignore him and he (and his stupid ads) will go away. Hopefully.

10:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a fluent English speaker who isn't an American, I'd read the ad as "We're forgetting aids".

I'm pretty sure the use of the phrase "for getting" to mean "we want to get" doesn't really exist outside the states, it actually took me a minute to figure out what the problem with the ad was! :)

5:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heck guys, the message could actually be: "If we're forgetting AIDS, we're for getting AIDS."

9:23 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

they are forgetting ads ... thats the fact

9:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This ad is up in Euston station in London, and everytime I've seen it I've read it as "We are in support of people getting aids". I assumed it was trying to say that by not actively working to stop the spread of the disease I was in favour of it. But now it seems this bloke makes clothes and I have abolsutely no idea what the hell it's on about.

5:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With today’s fixation on ‘political correctness’, its rare that you can find a piece of advertising that states (and is even permitted to state) a message, such as what you imply ‘WE’RE FOR GETTING AIDS’, so bluntly. Therefore, surely, this piece is designed to stand out and evoke such an interest as it seems to have sparked off on this web page alone- after all, all publicity is good publicity right? With the severity of the issue of Aids this advert is trying to make people wake up to the reality- a slap round our faces. This is my personal understanding anyway. I saw this advert this week and found it incredibly powerful and so I’m surprised and intrigued to come across such a negative response. Kenneth Cole seems a bit of a master in my eyes! Even his other work (which you’ve highlighted), for me, demonstrates similar great skills- playing with words subtly to convey such strong messages.
I agree that the blood-red colour stressing ‘GETTING’ denotes ‘confronting’ or ‘tackling’ Aids, or simply implies it’s spreading.
However, my own initial interpretation, after reading the subheading ‘over 60% still practice unsafe sex’, was that THAT 60% are actively going against the precautions to be taken in the struggle against Aids and therefore, in effect, are pro-aids. It’s a hard-headed, rather condemning and accusing approach – but surely that would only demonstrate how ANTI-aids amfAR is and highlights how seriously they want the issue to be taken. So ‘antfarm’ (Who basically put this essay of an argument in short :P) - hear hear!
This advert may APPEAR disrespectful to the cause, but actually highlights its severity and so in my opinion is very respectful- cutting out the crap that 'political correctness' often brings.
I’m sure Stonewall’s ‘SOME PEOPLE ARE GAY. GET OVER IT.’ billboards must be causing quite a similar stir!...But again, its effective!

3:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Did so many readers really miss the point?

If one forgets AIDS and forgets to protect him/herself, one is essentially for getting it.

I love this ad.

I think it will save people. I don't want even one more person to contract it.

What's with copyranter's read of it? I read it as "We're forgetting AIDS" or "We're for getting AIDS" but not at all "We're getting AIDS." And what's a hack punster. The communication/pun here is straightforward and appropriate.

How does Kenneth Cole promotionally own AIDS?

Too strange. This is my first exposure to copyranter - appropriately named anyway because the substance is rubbish.

4:40 PM  
Blogger copyranter said...

Yeah, you're right, and the other ten people here are all reading it wrong...why? Because you say so? An ad reads how it reads, and this one reads wrong. Face facts.

5:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i can't believe how bone idle some people can be. Ignorance this is. IGNORANCE.

2:58 PM  

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