Underwear campaign bottoms out in Sweden

There is a phrase in Swedish that perfectly describes the ongoing debate about a marketing campaign launched by underwear brand Sloggi: 'Taste is a bit like buttocks - divided'.

Underwear campaign bottoms out in Sweden

Opinion in Sweden appears to be split down the middle, with the rights and wrongs of the issue fueling heated discussions on internet forums nationwide.

The war of words began when Swiss-based company Triumph International whipped up interest in its Sloggi brand by asking men and women to send in pictures of their underwear-clad posteriors.

Employing the slogan ‘Show me your Sloggi’, the company is currently trawling the globe for ‘the world’s most beautiful bum’.

Users on the website are invited to vote for the bottom that most tickles their fancy, with the the owner of the winning backside being offered a cash prize as well as the opportunity of becoming Sloggi’s next model.

But when the campaign was slammed by sections of the Swedish media as “cynical and sexist” and a “porn trap” for young girls, speculation arose that the Trade Ethical Council against Sexism in Advertising (ERK) might be ready to pick up the gauntlet.

“We do have the possibility of taking up a case on our own initiative but this hasn’t actually been up for consideration yet,” ERK spokesman Jan Fager told The Local.

“I would however be surprised if we weren’t to receive any complaints, since this has been so widely discussed in the media,” he added.

Fager expects ERK to decide whether to look more closely at the campaign at the end of next week.

Sloggi meanwhile seems to have been caught unawares by the force of the backlash.

“We are surprised by the negative reaction we have had in Sweden,” marketing manager Sofie Lindahl-Jessen told The Local.

“We have been running the campaign for one and a half months in 39 countries around the world and Sweden is basically the only place we have had negative feedback,” she added.

Lindahl-Jessen is quick to reject the charge of sexism leveled by a number of commentators.

“We are targeting men as well as as women with our campaign,” she said.

Some analysts have also expressed doubts that all those who submit pictures are over 18 years old.

“They have to be over 18. If we are in any doubt we ask to see official identification. And we don’t upload every picture,” said Lindahl-Jessen.

All images, she explained, are carefully screened before appearing on the site.

“The Swedish reaction has now begun to spill over into Norway and Denmark but we have not had any official complaints,” she said.

So far, around 40 Swede’s have posted pictures of their behinds to the Sloggi website, while a total of 24,000 users worldwide have joined in the controversial battle of the buns.