There’s a continuing debate regarding the use of nudity in ads, even more so after Judith Hanson Lasater’s letter that was published in the recent issue of Yoga Journal.
The yoga community offers a peaceful space to share ideas and opinions, so we also wanted to weigh in with our thoughts. It’s not certain that Lasater’s comments are directed toward us, but since our ads do fall under the category of which she is speaking, we will assume she just might be (in some cases, our ads are being used as the example).
We have been big fans of Jasper Johal’s work since December of 2004 and admired his work for several years before approaching him with the concept of using his fine art series of nude photographs, “The Body As Temple”, as a marketing campaign for ToeSox. This was not an endeavor embarked on lightly and Jasper wanted to be sure of our intention before he agreed. For the record, our intention has been to associate ourselves with inspiring, beautiful artwork that celebrates both artists’ work and showcases them in a forum that reaches many. We do this because we are patrons of the artistic efforts of Jasper Johal, Kathryn Budig and Carrie Macy. The ancillary benefit is that the audience is simply aware of our product. We do not try to oversell in the ads and clutter the art. If the audience wishes to know more, they are welcome to view our site.
We do not equate nudity to sex and selling sex can be done without nudity. Sex is not our intention and the proof is shown through the mindful gaze of the artist and the positioning of poses. There is no coquettish look at the camera or wink to the audience. We aren’t using nudity for nudity’s sake. The campaign is about minimalism and expression. Each month features a different pose, each with thoughtful use of lighting, depth, and composition. Images are not just thrown together, but instead orchestrated with genuine heart and love of the human body and its strength.
There is a lot of passion surrounding this matter. We appreciate the dialogue. We appreciate Lasater’s stance and her willingness to speak out. We also appreciate our ads, the work of Jasper Johal, and the incredible spirit of our models and hope that you do as well. In no way is our intention to make you feel inadequate or lustful or market the idea that “you must look like this, to do that.” We know we can’t please everyone, but for every person that is offended, there are 50 that voice to us that they are inspired. And that is our focus for the marketing campaign. The selling of ToeSox is actually secondary.
In the end, we’d rather inspire and be inspired than bored.
Joe Patterson, Founder/President