FCUK, off: fashion label decides to rest ‘tired’ logo Independent – London,England,UK … The publicist Mark Borkowski said the new promotion was a way to refresh the label in the face of competitors who were imitating the original campaign. …
FCUK, off: fashion label decides to rest ‘tired’ logo
By Arifa Akbar
16 August 2004
A fashion label that inspired a generation of teenagers to wear the misspelt obscenity “FCUK” across their chests is dropping the acronym in a more subtle advertising campaign this season – with no logo at all.
The iconic slogan for the clothing chain French Connection, which captured the youth market, attracted the ire of parents, advertising watchdogs and judges and transformed the fortunes of the company, will be omitted in a new �3m advertising campaign.
The move has come amid claims that the FCUK logo has become tired and over-used, with the company’s share price dropping by 10.7 per cent last month. Experts say the latest campaign is an attempt to invigorate the label.
The original FCUK campaign courted controversy from its launch in 1997. The industry watchdog, the Advertising Standards Authority, received 27 complaints straight after the logo’s launch, while the American department stores Macys and Bloomingdales briefly banned products with the slogan from their shelves.
Mr Justice Rattee called it a “tasteless and obnoxious” acronym in a court case in 1999, while another judge sent home a juror for wearing the logo in court.
Only last month, the company was ordered to have its posters vetted for the next two years after the authority upheld a complaint about “offensive” language on them.
Under the new campaign, which is launched next month, the FCUK logo will be replaced by a series of ironic, self-referential phrases such as “Don’t make us say it”, “Something beginning with F” and “Haven’t you had enough influences for one day?”, with no other clues as to which brand they represent.
A one-minute “anti-marketing” television and cinema advert, featuring denim-clad youths on a road-trip across a desert, will incorporate an ironic voiceover asking, “Where do you think you’re going?” and “You weren’t influenced by the advert, were you?”.
The advert, described as a “satire on advertising” by its creators, will end with the phrase, “Don’t you just hate being influenced by the great big offensive logo at the end?” before it ends with a blank black screen. TBWA, the London advertising agency that created it, is pushing to have it featured on the BBC as a three-minute short.
Drapers Record, regarded as the bible for the fashion industry, published a brutal attack on the FCUK brand last month, describing it as “tired and tacky”.
The publicist Mark Borkowski said the new promotion was a way to refresh the label in the face of competitors who were imitating the original campaign.
Trevor Beattie, TBWA’s chairman, said this would be the first time in the history of advertising that a company had “dared not to speak its name”.
He dismissed reports that concern over the logo’s failing consumer lure had been growing and stressed that FCUK merchandise will still be available beside clothing with the non-branded phrases on them.