I know the whole nudity in advertising conversation is so last month, but this came across my radar and I can’t resist. The teachers at the Jivamukti Yoga School in NYC are the latest bods-in-the-buff posing for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The long running “I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur” campaign has featured many celebrities including Khloe Kardashian, Pamela Anderson, Alec Baldwin, Drew Barrymore and model/yogi Christy Turlington, and has garnered criticism from feminist animal rights activists.
The ad is a postcard (with a free Jivamukti class pass on the back) and I’m not sure if there are plans to use it in print or on billboards. As Well+Good NYC notes, “It helps that Jivamukti’s participation stems from real conviction and personal philosophy—and not the opportunism to bare all for a good cause. ‘The fork can be a powerful weapon of mass destruction or a tool to create peace on earth,’ reads a quote from Jivamukti’s founder, Sharon Gannon, a long-time vegan, on the back of the card.” (Although I really have no idea what that means – a fork?)
I have to admit that, for me, this ad works. Yoga advertisers, take note!
Promote a cause, not a product – PETA’s anti-fur campaign has received a fair amount of criticism, but it’s also achieved its intended result: getting attention and increasing awareness of cruelty to animals. This is an awareness building campaign, not a commercial endeavor.
No asana – at first glance, you wouldn’t even know this is a group of yoga teachers. They’re standing together, rather than showing off their fancy yoga moves.
Have fun! – they’re smiling, connected and playful. The ad doesn’t take itself too seriously and it isn’t pretending to be art. It displays diversity – men, women, mixed races, different body types.
Despite these positive aspects, there still is a slight breach of professionalism in this ad – these are working yoga teachers, who will encounter students and potential students in class and in their communities. I think it illustrates the precarious and awkward place that yoga teachers hold in our culture, somewhere between entertainer and health professional. I really can’t imagine the teachers at any other kind of school posing nude for anything. I also can’t imagine a group of massage therapists, healers, hairdressers, or educators attempting this – or advertisers even being interested in featuring them.
At face value, this ad is light-hearted and subversive, but when you look a little deeper, it’s sending a confused message that is about more than animal rights.
[via Well+Good NYC]