A billboard in the posh Sturegallerian mall in Stockholm's upscale Östermalm district has raised its fair share of passers-by's eyebrows. The advert, for Swedish Fathers Day on Sunday, November 10th, displays a pair of skimpy, purple lace women's underwear with the slogan 'Please please him'.
But who should please whom was a question nagging onlooker Daniel Eskils' mind as he trotted past the ambiguous billboard recently. He snapped a picture of the provocative advert and quickly posted it on Instagram.
"At first I was just baffled and didn't know how to interpret it," Eskils told the Metro newspaper. "At first I thought it was aimed at someone who should please dad, then I thought they were being modern and meant that dads too can wear knickers."
His pic quickly made the rounds on social media, with people less than amused at how easy it could be misinterpreted.
"Excuse me, isn't FATHER'S day when CHILDREN give gifts to their dad?" commented Agnes Braunerhielm, editor of fashion tome Rodeo, on Instagram.
While Eskils, the man with the mobile camera and intent to use it, did ponder whether the advert was simply a humourous nod in favour of cross-dressing fathers hoping to unwind over Father's Day weekend, he told Metro he quickly abandoned that line of inquiry.
"I don't think they've come that far. Instead, it just feels like Sturegallerian is stuck with old gender roles."
The advert prompted at least two reports to Sweden's advertising watchdog, the Swedish Advertising Ombudsman (Reklamombudsmannen, RO) , which now plans to launch a probe into whether the panty poster should be considered offensive or discriminatory on the basis of gender.
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Sturegallerian, whose own aggregate of Instagram-mentions quickly filled up with lacey purple panties, said on Wednesday they would withdraw the publicity campaign.
"It's unfortunate that some feel insulted by Sturegallerian's Father's Day campaign," Maria Jälmestål, marketing coordinator for mall owners Jones Lang Lasalle, told the Dagens Media newspaper.