French fashion house Balenciaga is currently in the process of hiring a new Vice President of Communication with a special emphasis on crisis control. This move comes as the brand tries to rebuild its reputation after the backlash it faced for featuring children inappropriately in its campaigns. The position is based in New York and is expected to pay between $150,000 to $200,000.
Balenciaga received significant backlash in November after launching its holiday campaigns with toddlers holding bondage teddy bears. The brand later released a spring 2023 collection, set in an office, including papers featuring text from a 2008 Supreme Court ruling relating to child pornography. The brand apologized for both campaigns and attempted to rectify its mistake by partnering with a children’s charity.
In December, Balenciaga’s creative director and chief executive officer apologized for the advertising campaign. The backlash had a significant impact on the brand’s fourth-quarter sales, with one analyst calling it a ‘PR blow-up.’ The annual earnings report was due out in February 2021, and Balenciaga did around $1.8 billion in sales that year.
To avoid future crises, the new VP of Communication will assist with decision-making for the brand image and maintain media relationships. The job description also seeks candidates who can assist with PR strategies across the region, maintain and develop relationships with ‘key editors,’ work on communication plans for product launches and manage communications across different platforms.
Balenciaga previously had two images of young children holding the plush handbags on their website that now appear to have been wiped. The gift shop section of the website features another image of a child standing on a sofa and holding a purple furry toy bag.
In February, the label and its parent company Kering Foundation announced a three-year partnership with the National Children’s Alliance, which is based in Washington DC. Balenciaga will work with the NCA in helping children heal from the trauma caused by abuse, promoting public awareness of child abuse and child protection. The NCA will educate Balenciaga on the actions that adults can take to further protect children.
The scandal erupted when Balenciaga released its 2022 Holiday ad campaign that featured children posing with its Plush Toy Bag, which looks like a teddy bear dressed in BDSM gear. The kids also appeared surrounded by empty wine and champagne glasses. Balenciaga later took responsibility for the campaign and pulled it from the internet.
Critics then examined the rest of Balenciaga’s campaigns and discovered that in the background of an image from the Spring ’23 campaign was a printout of a Supreme Court ruling on whether or not internet child porn can be legally considered free speech. Balenciaga blamed North Six, a production company that helped arrange the shoot, for the inclusion of those documents. Lawyers for the brand are yet to address DailyMail.com’s questions about how a book by Michael Borremans ended up on the photoshoot. Borremans is a Belgian painter whose work includes a troubling 2017 series called Fire From The Sun, which depicts naked toddlers – some of them castrated – playing in a group and at times alone.