Homophobia in Netherlands: dozens of kissing men ads vandalized

Suitsupply's 'Find Your Perfect Fit' ad campaign
Suitsupply's 'Find Your Perfect Fit' ad campaignPhoto: @suitsupply / Twitter

Clothing brand Suitsupply's new ad campaign is not being warmly accepted in the Netherlands. The campaign consists of posters in bus shelters and billboards showing two being affectionate with each other. Over 30 were broken and dozens of others were taped shut or covered in graffiti across the country over the past days, CEO Fokke de Jong confirmed to NU.nl.

The campaign consists of a number of images showing two men. In one the two men are kissing, others show men affectionately touching each other. "We expected some serious reactions", De Jong said to the newspaper. "But not to this extent. And certainly not in the Netherlands." 

The posters were placed in 5 thousand locations throughout the country late last week. Suitsupply lost over 10 thousand followers on social media when this campaign was launched online. The company also received hundreds of complaints and curses via email. "Many people ask us how to explain these posters to their children", De Jong said. "Those are questions we never get when we use an erotically loaded poster with a man and a woman."

The clothing brand's intent behind this campaign is to highlight the attraction between people "because that is an important part of fashion", De Jong said. "It is not strange that we also shed light on intimate attraction between gay men, although that is not very common in mainstream advertising." The campaign will run throughout the spring. "The slogan is 'find your own perfect fit', not only when it comes to clothes, but also in life itself", he said. "I can imagine that we can come up with more campaigns around that theme that not everyone agrees with."

De Jong emphasized that they are also receiving many positive reactions. "We notice that thanks to this campaign, a whole new group of customers is discovering us", he said to the newspaper. "We also notice and hear that in our stores. But I understand that the negative reactions are more appealing to th imagination."

Suitsupply hung these posters in nearly a hundred stores in 22 countries where the company is active. The campaign only skipped Russia and the United Arab Emirates. In the Netherlands most complaints are about the homosexual aspect of the campaign. In some of the other countries, the fact that the couple is interracial is also a topic of criticism.