It is no secret that the French and Europeans in general have a much more liberal attitude towards nudity in print and televised media than those in other parts of the world. Nonetheless, it is odd, even for a French retailer, to feature a fully grown, stark naked man in the background of an advert for children's T-shirts.
Yet that is precisely what was done by La Redoute, a retailer that sells everything from men's, women's and children's apparel to household gadgets.
Stylist UK reports that the image has stirred up its fair share of controversy in France — and with good reason. The photo, found on La Redoute’s e-commerce site, features four annoyingly happy looking children frolicking on the beach wearing fun (if grammatically incorrect) T-shirts. But way off in the distance behind them is a man wearing absolutely nothing. This is creepy on a number of levels — in the photo, this naked man’s presence invalidates all that childlike joy the children are experiencing.
But then you have to step back a level. How did this man get here in the first place? Did La Redoute really do a children’s photoshooot on a beach where people are allowed to roam around naked? Odds are, if there was one naked guy on that beach, there were probably more.
Styleite adds that the French Twittersphere is now teeming with outrage over the ad:
We don’t speak French, but the language of righteous indignation is universal. One angry tweeter described the affair as a “SCANDALE!”
Bearing in mind French views on nudity, had this been an ad for adult products, featuring only adults, it might have been overlooked -- but it is safe to say there is no place for adult full frontal nudity in an ad for and including children. It is difficult to imagine that the glaring faux pas innocently slipped by the retailer in either the production or post-production stage of the ad -- which leads one to conclude that the retailer adheres to the old motto: "There's no such thing as bad publicity."
Many of La Redoute's customers might soon be telling the online retailer "c'est la vie."
Below are the images from the ad in question. The Blaze has blurred the unmentionables: