2019 Baskin Robbins Advertisement
In 2019, Baskin Robbins released the promotion video around 30 seconds which featuring 11-year-old kid model Ella Gross advertising the new flavor “Pink Star”. The new products called “Pink Star” used main ingredient like mike, candy, strawberry so Baskin Robbins hope to present the refreshing, delicious and sweet image that matched the pink tone of ice cream.
In the video, she wears a sleeveless pink dress and savors the ice cream in various poses. The video also added milk and exploding elements while Ella enjoyed the ice cream.
Within a day of the release, they receive widespread criticism. Some online users on the internet pointed out that the makeup and clothes were evidently making her look older than her age, also some actions and expression gave off sexual implication. One South Korea user posted on June 28, 2019: “Decorating a child like an adult woman makes real girls exposed to crime. This is obviously disgusting and you must take steps to delete this video.” and someone post on an online community that criticized the ad as sexualizing Ella received almost 3,000 likes. Referring to close-up images of her mouth, the commenter said the shots were intentionally inserted. These issues have caused the Baskin Robbins ad and brand to be widely discussed negatively.
The Baskin Robbins company said in a statement, “We believe we put on Ella a typical amount of makeup for child model and clothes from one of the child-wear brands that Gross was modeling for.” but it did not seem to improve the situation because some netizens even more attacking that the problem came from seductive gesture in the video.
Of course, this was starting to spread, and not just in South Korea. When netizens around the world started paying attention, other users argued that such claims of sexualization resulted from oversensitivity. One online comment said the widely distributed screen captures of the video may have been selected in a way to exaggerate the purported sensual aspect. A commenter on a reposting of the ad on Youtube said, “Idk (I don’t know) why people are criticizing BR for this cf…it’s definitely adorable.”
In the end, there were two different opinions. Some people watched the video and said that they did not think of anything about sexual at allbut some said that there are parts that really make it possible to think that way.
From my perspective, when we have to create one advertisement, it requires a lot of attention in detail.We must realize that each scene in every second of the advertisement video can lead to many different interpretations.We should be careful not only the content of video, but also the sound, cloths, colors and every single thing in the advertisement. From this advertisement, it shows that if there is one people who interpret the meaning from the advertising that we want to convey in another way, that means we have failed to deliver the message we want to distribute. And because this advertisement related to kid model, I think we have to pay attention more than usual. Even actually Baskin Robbins did not consider their advertisement was sexualizing but they have to be more careful about this thing because there are many scenes that make people may misunderstand when they watch advertisement. There are so many opinions on this advertisement about inappropriate things and I think it is very sensitive because she is still a child and have to know these feedbacks.
Choi Ji-won. (2019, July 1). Baskin Robbins hit by claims of sexualizing 11-year-old. The Korea Herald. http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20190701000802
Timothy Tuan. (2019, July 3). A Baskin Robbins Ad Got Hate For ‘Sexualising’ A Child Model. SAYS. https://says.com/my/news/a-baskin-robbins-ad-got-hate-for-sexualising-11-yo-model-and-this-is-her-mum-s-response
By the staff. (2019, July 2). Baskin Robbins Korea Pulls Controversial Ad Starring Child Model Following Complaints. Branding in Asia. https://www.brandinginasia.com/baskin-robbins-pulls-controversial-ad-starring-korean-child-model-following-complaints/