New clothing campaign pushes boundaries of taste

A Chinese mother confronts her teenage daughter, disappointed about the condoms she finds in the girl's possession. Much to the girl's astonishment, her mother proceeds to show her an 'ancient secret' - a box with a selection of small and frighteningly large dildos as a way to help the girl save herself for marriage.

A Chinese mother confronts her teenage daughter, disappointed about the condoms she finds in the girl’s possession. Much to the girl’s astonishment, her mother proceeds to show her an ‘ancient secret’ – a box with a selection of small and frighteningly large dildos as a way to help the girl save herself for marriage. The girl’s grandmother, sitting in a rocking chair observing the proceedings, cackles disturbingly, grabs the largest dildo and leaves the room. The spot ends with the tagline, ‘No Sweat…Bone Dry Wear.’ So transpires ‘Chinese Toys’, one of the spots in an eyebrow-raising brand campaign for Vancouver-based Copasetic Clothing by Toronto shop Grey Worldwide.

Another spot shows Italian parents looking alarmed when they think their daughter’s lover is black – and even more so when they find out it’s a woman.

The ads, which broke early December in an e-mail campaign that hit thousands in the advertising and marketing industry, were inspired by the company’s name, Copasetic – a clothing and marketing company that produces promotional garments for client brands such as Smirnoff and Rossignol. Copasetic does event marketing and it also has a line of technical clothing called Bone-Dry, which helps keep you dry of sweat when under pressure.

Says Grey art director Sam Cerullo, ‘Copasetic by definition means everything is cool, even in the most embarrassing moments and times in your life.’

‘There are 100,000 garments across Canada that have our logo and Web site on it,’ says Copasetic founder Jessie Katz. ‘We want to get people to start recognizing our brand.’

Copasetic took a broad-based, humorous approach so that consumers would remember their name and clients would recognize them for thinking outside the box, says Katz.

The ads are airing on Toronto-based digital channels Sextv and FashionTelevisionChannel, along with U.S.-based Playboy TV, and will be screened in movie theatres across Canada. Cerullo hopes the spots will run internationally as well and that they become like BMW’s The Hire series of films; that they will create a buzz, and drive people to the Web site (www.parkcityfilms.com/copasetic.html) to view them.

Cerullo admits the Copasetic ads have stereotypes within them, but says they still ‘hold truths’. In the ‘Italian Lovers’ spot, for example, it is conveyed that Italians expect their offspring to marry only Italians. ‘It’s less and less of an issue, but some people just can’t keep [stereotypes] out of their mind,’ says Cerullo. ‘When they were written, no one pointed out that they might offend someone.’

Thus far, Katz says response to the ads has been great. The next phase of the e-mail campaign will hit client targets next. ‘We think it’s all done in good fun,’ says Katz. ‘Everybody has called in hysterics and told us they think it’s racy and exciting. It’s all been positive.’

Copasetic is currently opening an office in Toronto and Katz is hoping to break into the international market.

Credits

Client: Copasetic Clothing

Agency: Grey Worldwide

Creative Director: Marc Stoiber

Art Director/Copywriter: Sam Cerullo

Copywriter: Terry Levine

Production Agency: The Park City Film Company

Executive Producers: Clare ‘Cash’ Cashman, Jane Charles Shaw

Director/Cameraman: Cliff Skelton