Saturday, August 21, 2010

Tommy Hilfiger Playing Indian

Children's books and media are replete with characters (human and not) who put on a feathered headband or headdress and put their hand/paw over their mouths to make what they think is an "war whoop".

Given the pervasiveness of playing Indian, it is not surprising to see a kid doing just that in the new Tommy Hilfiger ad:

If you visit the Hilfiger page, you'll learn that the kid is named Eric, and that he "takes charge of art-directing the Thanksgiving table."

Here's one example:

The "Meet the Hilfer's" campaign (advertisement) is supposed to be oh-so-cool and quirky at the same time. I find it just plain offensive. It reeks of privilege and affluence. If I shopped there, I'd quit giving them any of my money.


Unknown said...

Your posts always give me something to think about. Thanks for helping us all to think twice :)

Anonymous said...

The ad is conspicuously ripping off the look and flavor of Wes Anderson’s movie The Royal Tenenbaums, especially the feel of retro/clueless privilege and of characters trapped in their own childhoods, even/especially parts of their childhood that are outdated. Have you seen the movie? I don’t think any of this makes the feather in the hair and war cry a good idea, but I think that for the people who made this ad, the Eric “character” is a riff on stereotypical childhood play of the ‘50s and ‘60s, and is purposefully oblivious -- the right to be oblivious being one of the signature benefits of privilege, which is what this ad is really trying to sell. There are still plenty of problems with that, of course, and I’m not excusing the ad, just thinking that it’s interesting to try to locate what its creators think it’s doing. Anyway, though I like the movie, I think you’re right that this is an obnoxious piece of work.