You know that feeling you get when you make a joke at a dinner party and it’s just… silence? That’s what American Eagle must be feeling right now.
The clothes retailer ill-advised joke about men being comfortable in their own skin has been torn to pieces on social media.
The ad, which appeared in March, featured four men talking about feeling good about their bodies – a rare statement of male body positivity.
In a statement released by the copy, American Eagle gave itself a preemptive pat-on-the-back for the gag:
‘American Eagle Outfitters proves once again they’re not afraid to take a risk and have a laugh in support of a good cause. Following the successes of the Skinny Skinny Jean in 2013 and American Beagle Outfitters in 2014, the brand reveals today its #AerieMAN campaign, featuring a mix of quirky characters of different sizes and personalities sharing “real life” stories in their skivvies, was all in good fun to parody the #AerieReal campaign by Aerie, a leader in body-positive marketing.
‘“We aren’t afraid of being bold in how we engage our customers, whether through a video that makes you think twice, or challenging the norm in how a brand markets to men,” comments Chad Kessler, American Eagle Outfitters Global Brand President. “We are an all-inclusive brand and we know our male customers respond to humor. We look forward to continuing to innovate and evolve the American Eagle Outfitters product offerings.”‘
The brand has since posted follow-up blogs on its website trying to explain the joke.
But – what is it they say? – ‘If you have to explain a joke, it isn’t funny.’