Virgin Mobile’s Internet marketing team apparently believes that making meme-style pictures is totally hip and cool, particularly when they add an element of danger into the mix. And what’s that risky business this brilliantly relatable ad utilizes? Sexual assault, of course! After all, do you know what’s hilarious? Rape! You know why? Because chloroform!
The image, captured by the Everyday Sexism Project’s Twitter feed, was tweeted with a call to their followers to help convince Virgin Mobile U.S. and Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group Chairman, to take the ad down. Because, you know, that’d be a fucking rational thing to do.
According to The Guardian, Branson was very vocally displeased:
“Having just seen, for the first time, the Virgin Mobile US advert which has upset many today, I agree it is ill-judged. Although I don’t own the company, it carries our brand. I will speak to the team there, make my thoughts clear and see what can be done about it.”
He added: “Virgin Mobile US usually get these things right, although on this occasion it is clear they have gone too far.”
Oh, good, at least he’s taking responsibility and luckily it was replaced by—
Fortunately, Rapey Clause was removed from the website shortly thereafter, as well, from what I can only assume is a marketing team who are currently desperate to understand why nobody likes their hilarious ads.
Oh, and something else gross: these are both from Virgin Mobile’s “The Gift of Christmas Surprise” slideshow on their website. This sounds entirely too much like when people joke about “surprise sex” when they’re really just referring to, uh, rape. Fortunately, they eventually removed the entire section, but not before deeply offending anybody who thinks rape is bad (i.e. most people).
Please, stupid advertisers: rape jokes are still not funny. They won’t be next week, either, or next month. They aren’t funny when seasonally made, nor when topically appropriate to current events. They’re just not funny. It’s lazy advertising geared towards the bottom of humor somewhere below Dane Cook’s current incarnation and one step above doing drinking games to A Serbian Film. Go back to school if you have to, but just find a way to not make rape jokes to sell products, capisce?
Photos: The Guardian