ZEB – doing it wrong

Warning: rant coming up!

I personally don’t shop much at ZEB, but with its wide collection of jeans of all kinds of brands in various colours and sizes, my second housemate used to find jeans in his size without too much fuss. I say used to, because after their latest promotional stunt they won’t see us there any time soon.
Since we need to go shopping in Breda for jeans for my other housemate anyway, he’ll just tag along the next time we go there.

So, what made us come to this decision? Their latest campaign featuring a competition for plastic surgery worth 5000 EUR.
Why? Because they want to break down the walls surrounding sales period legislation they decided to break down the walls around another subject: plastic surgery.
In a world slowly evolving towards body positivity this is a hell of a counterproductive statement… If even a fashion brand, mostly catering towards young people, thinks you should alter your body to look good….Even if they say it is in the name of open communication they still lured people in with “are you still dreaming of fuller lips, a cup size more or less or a flatter tummy”.
Aren’t there enough other walls to break down? And if it has to be a fashion related wall, why not the one surrounding body modification? I think that would send out a message that is a lot more positive.

Most of the reactions that passed on twitter, facebook and blogs were of people being shocked, just like me.
The one that got to me most was from the founder of benetiet.be, a charity that raises funds towards cancer related breast reconstruction with body tissue, as this type of reconstruction is still considered as purely aesthetical and as such not refunded by health insurance.It’s obvious the people at ZEB were also moved by this reaction since they decided to support the charity for 5000 EUR, which is of course a grand gesture, but to me it doesn’t make up for the wrong choice that triggered these reactions.

What are your thoughts on this type of promotional stunt?

EDIT: On Friday both the chain and it’s manager were summoned by the court for breaking a law against promotion of plastic surgery. As a result the chain now offers 5000 EUR in clothes budget and an additional 3 vouchers of 1000 EUR in clothes budget in stead. It is not known at this point whether the charges will be dropped.


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