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FCUK Ad Has Parents SIHTTING Selves

A suggestive fragrance advertisement in Seventeen magazine’s October issue stunned one Kentucky Middle School parent, alarmed Knox County Schools officials and prompted the publication itself to have second thoughts.

The ad from French Connection United Kingdom does not use the company’s full name, but rather an acronym of the clothier’s name that closely resembles a vulgar term. It shows a photo of an amorous, scantily clad couple with the caption, “scent to bed.”

Parent Carla Harris said she couldn’t believe the ad. When she composed her thoughts, she immediately began thinking of ways she could help parents become more aware of the content of magazines targeted toward teens and children.

“I was really just almost speechless. It’s just incredible,” Harris said. “This is a warning for parents: Know what your kids are reading.”

Seventeen magazine issued a statement this week expressing regret for offending anyone with any of its ads.

“The advertisement in question will not run in the magazine again. We are committed to publishing a responsible magazine for young women and will remain diligent about reviewing advertisements for potentially offensive subject matter,” the statement read.

Stacy Gubinski, public relations manager for French Connection United Kingdom, said the ad campaign is targeted toward 18- to 25-year-olds and that the acronym is “meant to be taken tongue and cheek (sic).”

“Initially, there was skepticism and mixed feedback, but people were soon able to actually appreciate the novelty and humor of it,” Gubinski said. “No publications have refused to run the ads. However, we have made the decision to pull ads from a few publications including Teen People and Seventeen.

“Unfortunately, a few religious groups have chosen to target us. While we understand their concerns and respect their opinions, we do not feel we are promoting the values they are insinuating.”

Harris volunteers at Bearden Middle School, where her 12-year-old daughter attends school. She also works with the junior high youth group at her church.

Harris’s complaint spurred Pat Mashburn, who is Knox County Schools’ coordinator of Instructional Materials and Library Services, to direct 19 middle and high schools to review their subscriptions to Seventeen.


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