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Take a Walk, Nine West! Your Ad Is Offensive to Moms

There are a couple of snap judgments that I made when checking out Nine West’s new promotional campaign celebrating something they call “shoe occasions.”

First off, this particular mom is really messy. She couldn’t put her used Kleenex in a trashcan or even just in her pocket or purse? What mom does that?!?

Second, 95 percent of moms only wear high heels like that if it is a date night. They would not wear shoes like that for school drop-off unless they had a meeting with someone at Vogue or a job interview at a local boutique. Stylish moms are far more likely to be seen wearing a pair of basic ballet flats, Toms or even a pair of metallic-toned Birkenstocks on a school day.

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And lastly, if she can emotionally trade her children for shoes, well, I’m not sure if motherhood is really meant for her.

So why do I, along with others, have our panties in a bunch over this new promo image? It’s just so weird, outdated and borderline sexist.

The text for the image pays homage to the first day of kindergarten with the text saying, “The bus arrives and so do the waterworks. Then it hits you: Mommy now has the weeks off. Wipe those happy-sad tears … We got a shoe for that.”

If you want to sell us shoes, don’t make us out to be clichés.

Which bringing me to my fourth “WTF” moment in looking at this promotional image. What mom has “the weeks off”? I don’t think I’ve ever met one who has weeks off. It they aren’t working in some capacity, then they are doing laundry, cleaning the house, keeping the family fed and clothed. Nine West must be addressing that mythical mother who lounges perfectly quaffed on her flawless white sofa, eating bonbons without them adding inches to her waistline. That mythical mother that does not exist.

And it’s not just moms that they are targeting. Their second “ad” is aimed at those who are “Starter Husband Hunting,” which boasts that, “Whether you're looking for Mr. Right or Mr. Right Now … We got a shoe for that."

Heidi Stevens of the Chicago Tribune stated that Nine West leaves, “you wondering whether the copywriters watched one too many 'Mad Men' episodes — and failed to absorb the show's not-very-subtle messages on shifting gender roles and the dark byproducts of institutionalized misogyny.” Nine West totally went old-school but not in a good or fashionable way.

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What can marketers and ad agencies learn from all this? That we women take our roles in society seriously. If you want to sell us shoes, don’t make us out to be starter husband-hunting, Kleenex-littering, “I’m going to buy lots of shoes in all my newly found free time” clichés.

What do you think of Nine West’s new campaign? Funny or FAIL?

Image via Nine West

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