Welp. It'd seem that even in 2017, you still can't get anything past anyone — not even progress. You'd think we were referring to this morning's swearing in of President Trump, but nope. We're talking about the backlash Australian sneaker brand Dunlop Valley is facing because of its latest ad campaign. The spot features an array of models canoodling in their underwear and a pair of the label's iconic tennis shoes. It also features same-sex couples embracing one another. Gasp. Apparently, that was enough to light a fire under the Australian Christian Lobby's fingers, and haters began to Tweet their distaste for Dunlop Valley's message. Their cries were lead by Queensland state director Wendy Francis when she tweeted her concern for maintaining the innocence of children. "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'" she wrote.
But, we caution Francis to pump the brakes on dishing out R cards for sensitive content, and to save them for things that actually contain violence or strong language. It's more harmful to pretend things like sexuality and advertising don't exist, as opposed to letting them form their own opinions about how marketing (and the world) works — and we're not talking about that whole "sex sells" thing. It turns out, though, the advertisement isn't meant for children anyway. We reached out to the brand for comment, and here's what they had to say: "The campaign is targeted to our adult market, not our children's market. If a consumer is after a pair of Volleys for their children, they need not enter the #Grassroots landing page, which holds the imagery of the campaign. "We at Volley perceive the imagery to be strikingly beautiful and in no way promiscuous. It is displayed there to support the movement of freedom in sexual orientation and self-expression. Furthermore, the campaign strongly supports safe sex and body empowerment, which if anything, are two very important lessons in today's society. "The tone of the campaign was lighthearted and referenced 'rooting' in relation to Australian slang. For our international audience, this is a word that refers to cheering and supporting others, which is something we love. "The campaign objective from the start was to raise message and brand awareness, rather than drive sales. We believe that our target audience is more progressive in their thinking and will therefore be more accepting of the concept. "We were careful to not confuse sex with voyeurism, or the objectification of the human body. Alternatively. we seek to promote body empowerment in both women and men, which can be seen in Marisa Taschke's tasteful approach to her photography. "Given the nature of our message — 'love whoever you want' — we understood that love in turn leads to sex. We believe it is important to love who you want, but remain safe in the process. The partnership with Ansell followed this concept as they, like Volley, are an iconic Australian brand." Preach.