Bloomingdales Holiday Date-Rape

Who doesn’t love going to a holiday party during the Christmas season? It’s nice to take time to enjoy spending time with friends, co-workers and even your significant others.

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Controversial holiday ad from Bloomingdales Courtesy of Twitter @KrisAlderson

Controversial holiday ad from Bloomingdales Courtesy of Twitter @KrisAlderson

Controversial holiday ad from Bloomingdales Courtesy of Twitter @KrisAlderson

Bloomingdale’s Christmas 2015 holiday book features an ad with a young woman laughing and man eyeing her like he’s a predator who is moments away from bagging his trophy. If the man’s glance wasn’t disturbing enough the suggestion of date raping the woman are absolutely terrifying. The ad reads “Spike Your Best Friend’s Eggnog When They’re Not Looking.”

It didn’t take long for luxury retail giant Bloomingdale’s to receive heated messages across social media platforms as people detested this dangerous date-rape message.

Twitter user @KrisAlderson posted a copy of the ad on Monday, Nov. 9 just moments before midnight, and added “Or don’t and quit being a creep.” Her posts was retweeted 558 times and favorited 639 times.

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#Bloomingdales analytics Courtesy of Topsy.com

#Bloomingdales analytics Courtesy of Topsy.com

 #Bloomingdales analytics Courtesy of Topsy.com

Search analytics tool Topsy.com shows more than 2,560 tweets were sent within a seven-day period from Nov. 6 to Nov. 13 using the hashtag #Bloomingsdales.

A quick search shows some of those tweets were not in relation to the ad, but a vast majority are directly related to the posting.

The retailers acknowledged peoples outrage and apologized in their most recent tweet made at 5:02 pm Nov. 10, roughly 17 hours after Alderson’s posting.

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Bloomingdales online apology. Courtesy of Bloomingdales' Twitter feed

Bloomingdales online apology. Courtesy of Bloomingdales’ Twitter feed

Bloomingdales online apology. Courtesy of Bloomingdales’ Twitter feed  

Bloomingdales did the right thing by responding to this incident in less than 24 hours. In today’s ultra-fast world a brand, regardless of size, can not delay in not responding as it could prove more damaging to the brand.

Yet it really should have not taken that long. In today’s world of social media everyone is connected by digital technology. I can’t fathom that the employee responsible for the Bloomingdale’s social media account must have seen the backlash much earlier in the day. I am baffled by why a decision should have been made to write and release a statement, preferable before lunch.

@ShortCanuck said in part “…Astonished that ANYONE would think it appropriate. Hope contribution to women’s causes is made.” Other tweets pointed out Bloomingdale’s or the agency responsible for the ad suffers from a lack of diversity. Bloomingdale’s has yet to release any additional information answering the demands for contributions or its failure of a diverse staff overseeing the copy design.

Some of the people posting responses to believe the ad was intentionally added to the catalog to ensure a viral hit for the 143-year old department store. Another user felt the public was being unfairly harsh to the retailer calling the backlash a result of too-much political correctness in our society. I found that to be very disturbing.

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Twitter user @SirTitan45 was upset as he complained about people being too politically correct
Courtesy of @SirTitan45

It’s one thing to spike someone’s drink if they know you are adding the alcohol. It’s quite another to do it to potentially sexually assault someone. Sex should always be consensual.

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@MXJackMonroe pleaded with people not to spike anyone's drink. Courtesy of @MxJackMonroe

@MXJackMonroe pleaded with people not to spike anyone’s drink. Courtesy of @MxJackMonroe

@MXJackMonroe pleaded with people not to spike anyone’s drink. Courtesy of @MxJackMonroe

In days leading up to the ads posting, Bloomingdale’s typically tweeted three times daily. Bloomingdale’s has not tweeted since the apology was posted on Nov. 10. That makes sense you don’t want people to think you are not sincere about your apology or just returning to “business as usual.”

So they took the right initial steps, which you would expect from a brand of their stature. Executives still need to review their approval and diversity processes immediately. Better yet, the ad should have been left on the editing floor.

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