- Controversy has arisen over Volley’s new campaign involving nudity and same-sex couples
- The Australian Christian Lobby accused the brand for the ad’s ‘R-rated and ridicule’ content
- Volley’s aim was to celebrate freedom of sexual expression and safe sex
In a world where we are constantly bombarded by the media with words and images of any kind, it seems like the only way to stand out is to create some kind of controversy that will have people talking for days. The advertising managers at Dunlop Volley, an Australian shoe brand, knew that very well when they came up with the idea for their latest ad.
In a series of photos captured by Australian photographer Marisa Taschke, the ad featured young, tanned, straight and gay people, frolicking around wearing nothing but a pair of Volley’s, a few condom-wrapped tennis racquets, and the deliberate use of the word “rooting” multiple times. With a tagline that read “We’re rooting for change”, the new campaign was aimed at celebrating sexual expression. As expected, not everybody was pleased with the ad.
The Australian Christian Lobby, the largest Christian lobbying group in the country, sure had something to say about it.
Wendy Francis, ACL Queensland director and campaigner against sexuality in advertising, shared her disapproval of the campaign in a series of tweets:
“Parents be aware Dunlop Volley still sell sandshoes for school kids, but their website has R rated images as they’re now all about rooting.”
“Volley sandshoes ads are defended as fine for our kids. I’m ridiculed for concern. I’ll cop the ridicule & keep fighting for kid’s innocence.”
In a response to Francis’ statements, Samuel Leighton-Dore, one of the models that appeared in the campaign, said: “I’m not sure she’s offended by the images so much as what they seem to represent, which is freedom, sexuality, and… footwear.”
ACL is one of the primary opponents of LGBT rights in Australia and they are not shy about it. They are all for a censorship on LGBT-inclusive sex education and fight to keep equal marriage from being legalised.
Just last year, the head of the ACL refused to publicly apologise for comparing equal marriage to the Holocaust.
However, despite the mild controversy, the campaign has been receiving the support they were hoping for from the public.
In an interview with Mumbrella, John Szwede, Volley’s global brand manager, said: “Our campaign is all about the celebration of sexual expression whilst remembering to stay safe. We’ve joined arms with Ansell condoms in support of safe sex. As whilst we’re all about rooting, we believe in ‘safety first’.
“The Grassroots campaign uses our voice to speak to the frustration of many young Australians who feel like, for the first time in a generation, their freedom is being eroded, instead of being advanced.
“So stay safe this summer and root for us, root for change, root for VOLLEY.”