Spiked Eggnog Spillover

The holiday season is around the corner and every major brand is trying to come up with creative methods to get customers hyped about their festive products. Some worked out well and some not so much.

For instance, Bloomingdales may have suggested that date rape is good for the holidays through an advertisement featured in the store’s new holiday catalog.

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The image shows the actual ad from the catalog with the caption that reads, “Spike your best friend’s egg nog when they’re not looking.” The model’s pose for this ad fits just fine for the caption, which might have made it even more disturbing.

Shortly after the ad was release, people began to voice their disapproval on Twitter.Screen-Shot-2015-11-13-at-1.51.07-PMThis Twitter user suggests the opposite and called the ad creepy.

Although Bloomingdales has issued an apology, it didn’t stop people from criticizing the chain’s bad taste.Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 1.31.28 PMHere’s the apology on Twitter.

Screen-Shot-2015-11-13-at-1.34.05-PMSome people wonder how the ad even got approved for production.


Screen-Shot-2015-11-13-at-1.36.14-PMSome people demand something more tangible than a Twitter apology.


Everyone makes mistakes, so did Bloomingdales. Why do you think this ad was approved in the first place? How would you solve this issue if you were a part of Bloomingdales’ PR team?

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7 Responses to Spiked Eggnog Spillover

  1. Taylor Holmes says:

    It still surprises me that companies think that ads such as this are a good idea. This reminds me of Bud Light’s Up For Whatever campaign, which encountered a similar crisis with a message that seemed to promote rape culture. These days our society is extremely sensitive to messages from companies, so any advertising messages should be reviewed with a fine tooth comb to ensure that there is no possibility of outfit offensiveness. I can see how this ad was approved in the first place–I think it was meant to be a playful message. I think that in order to solve this problem, Bloomingdales should release a formal statement apologizing for the ad and showing support for an anti-rape organization. A strong social media push would help as well to aid in repositioning the Bloomingdales brand.

  2. Siera Whitten says:

    This advertisement released by Bloomingdales is quite disturbing to many, and it certainly makes people question the company’s values or if the people involved in creating and publishing it even care about the fact that date rape is a huge issue around the world. According to a Washington Post article (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/11/12/what-a-creepy-bloomingdales-ad-tells-us-about-americas-understanding-of-rape/), “at least half of sexual assaults involve the consumption of alcohol by the perpetrator, the victim, or both, according to the National Institutes of Health.”
    An expert quoted in the article comments that whoever created the ad, male or female, did not even connect their ad to sexual assault- or they don’t understand how serious the issue is. This is no excuse, and it is certainly not smart to downplay an issue like this. The bigger issue is- the text or image cannot disappear- it is in print form with thousands of copies being issued around the country. If I were involved in Bloomingdale’s PR team, I would directly apologize to organizations that advocate for women that have been affected by date rape, and an apology over Twitter is not sufficient. The apology needs to go further and take action- such as one of the above tweet suggests- donate to a relevant cause. Another thought going forward– change the directions of the advertisements to empower women, not feature them as innocent pieces of meat to be easily taken advantage of.

  3. Alexandra Long says:

    This is a faux pas that will not become a serious issue for Bloomingdale’s if they handle the aftermath correctly. If I were with Bloomingdale’s, I would of course pull the ad and apologize, but I would also look to social and news media to see what exactly aggrieved parties are calling for (like donations to relevant causes, for example) and make those moves.

    In addition to making those amends, I would issue another ad that reflects the exact opposite tone of the first ad. I would present an ad that does not embody rape culture or misogyny, but rather supportive communication between partners (probably not heteronormative partners, because why do we need to keep using that dynamic if we messed it up and made it “creepy” the first time?) to express to Bloomingdale’s clients that the previous ad was, in fact, a complete misrepresentation of the brand’s ethical and moral framework. This ad would exemplify Bloomingdales’ commitment to the safety and comfort of all its customers, not just heterosexual couples and men who spike the drinks of their female “friends” at holiday parties.

  4. Megann Jakubek says:

    I think that more and more companies are trying to take risks when it comes to advertising and social media posts in order to stand out from the crowd. This Bloomingdales ad has definitely crossed the line and is in extremely bad taste. I think that maybe it got approved by a team who is not sensitive to these subjects, or maybe they knew the topic was sensitive but thought the ad would be funny. I think Bloomingdales did the right thing in apologizing and I hope they are extra cautious about their risk-taking in the future.

  5. Breanna Johnson says:

    It’s difficult to imagine the message they were trying to send with this advertisement. I’m not sure if it was meant to be lighthearted and funny or if they were just not thinking, but the ad is tasteless and insensitive either way.This is definitely an example of a bad idea that went too far in production and frankly, I don’t understand the idea they were trying to get across. And it all comes in bad timing, with date rape being a huge topic right now, especially in relation to the Bill Cosby case. Would the ad have been perceived differently if it were two men depicted in the photos and not a woman? I don’t think so. The caption along with the photo do not promote anything related to Bloomingdale’s and do not sale anything in particular so its just a combination of bad ideas and a bad message. Overall, the advertisement should have never gotten this far into production. It just doesn’t make any sense.

  6. Megan Brown says:

    Rape culture in the United States is built on the ideals that sexual violence is a norm and victims are blamed for their own assaults. I have absolutely no sympathy for Bloomingdale’s in the wake of criticism for their extremely distasteful ad. As one Twitter user brought up, how did the ad go from idea to execution without someone questioning the ethics of using such an ad to sell clothing. In fact, I don’t understand how this ad helps sell clothing or encourage people to shop at Bloomingdale’s at all. The poses of the models add to the rapey-ness of the ad with the man leering over a woman who isn’t paying any attention to him at all. If I were Bloomingdale’s PR team I would probably quit out of shame. However, should that not be a possibility, I would utilize the idea from the Twitter of @AlexLRoth. Any and all proceeds that came from the use of such an unethical ad should be donated to a related cause where victims of sexual violence and attack may benefit from being the butt of a corporate mogul’s bad joke.


  7. Juliet Moo says:

    I agree with Siera regarding the ad being in print, which could cause more permanent damage. According to Alexandra, this is an issue that will die down sooner or later depending on how Bloomingdale decides to handle it. Moving forward, the best way to minimize damage is to show that the company is not an advocate for date rape or any kind of sexual violence by taking solid actions, instead of a Twitter apology. Just as most commenters has stated, Bloomingdale needs to put in an effort in changing the publics impression of the store’s values by donating and supporting relevant causes.

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