Is Nine West's New Ad Campaign Offensive or Funny?


Nine West has some shoes that are perfect for “Starter husband hunting,” as demonstrated in their new ad campaign, plus bags that are great for your future “walk of shame.” Cute and clever or just plain stupid?

The campaign – which rolled out Friday – has been described by the New York Times as a “decidedly more cheeky approach” than the previous ways the brand has tried to market itself. It’s a series of print ads that say things you’d more likely say to your best friend than you’d expect to read on a billboard. One reads “Anticipatory walk of shame” and has a woman with a Nine West bag that has flip-flops in it. Another is supposed to celebrate getting “Drunch” (drunk at lunch) and features a woman’s legs (in Nine West heels) and a glass of champagne.

Some don’t find them very funny. A Facebook post that went up this morning with a version of the “Starter husband hunting” ad is full of negative remarks, and a tweet has a couple similar responses:

Stupid campaign 9W. Love your shoes but don’t patronize your customers by an outdated ideal. Women are hunting success and goals, dreams and visions. Not husbands
What about the women not looking for Mr. Right, but instead Mrs. Right?

But others do seem amused by it, perhaps because the copy along with the ads on social media is a little more open-minded: “It’s hunting season. Whether you’re looking for Mr. Right or Mr. Right Now, we have a shoe for that.”

“Nailed it! Wish I had these for the prowl this weekend ;)” one woman wrote.

But a Jezebel reader was displeased to get an email from Nine West about the ad campaign this morning:

I guess Nine West believes that the only reason women buy shoes from them is to go on the “PROWL” for potential husbands.

She also took issue with another ad for the “First Day of Kindergarten” on the “sexist hell that is Nine West’s website”:

There are so many things wrong with this campaign. Why does “Mommy now have the weeks off”? Why can’t “Mommy” have a job in this scenario?
Nine West is implying that we only have shoes for seeing off our children and attracting a man. Nine West clearly does not offer shoes for our high power jobs or fun nights out with the girls.

A Nine West executive told the Times that the language is meant to be an updated version of that which was used in older ads and was not meant to do anything but celebrate women (there is also apparently an ad coming out about “being stuck in an office meeting”):

Styles in “Starter husband hunting,” for example, might once have been called night-on-the-town shoes, she said.

Images via Nine West

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