At Knix we’ve built our brand by being honest, open and vulnerable. It’s these characteristics that have enabled us to build trust with our customers and community. Trust, especially in regards to women’s bodies, is something that we don’t take lightly. Part of being honest is admitting when you made a mistake, and recently we did just that. We made a mistake that triggered a very intense and difficult topic for some people. For this we are extremely sorry. You deserve an explanation.
You may have noticed some rather strange ads coming from our Facebook account recently and we wanted to share some context.
A few weeks ago we ran an internal team building event in which everyone in the company had 60 minutes to come up with an ad concept. It’s called an Ad Hack-a-Thon. The goal was to collaborate creatively, all while encouraging the concept that everyone on Team Knix is welcome to contribute. After all, a good idea can come from anywhere.
The output of the exercise was about 60 different ads. As I’m sure you can imagine, the ads all varied in quality and in content (Team Knix consists of HR, accountants, web developers, supply chain, clothing designers...you get the idea). We agreed to put a small budget behind some of these ads (certainly not all of them) and see what would happen.
Fast forward a few weeks later, and through an internal miscommunication, all 60 of the ads went live including one ad that unfortunately not only caught people off guard (what were they thinking?) but for some, triggered an association with sexual assault. We are so very sorry.
The concept behind the ad in question was "what happens in leak proof, stays in leak proof"....(pee, sweat, blood etc) with a parody on Las Vegas. I can promise you there was no intention to connect our product and brand with sexual assault and violence and that no one within our company would make light of something so serious. For a variety of other reasons (like it's a photo of our product in a gutter....next to a cigarette butt and garbage), this particular image was never meant to be shared.
In fact, a lot of them were not meant to be shared.
Somewhere out there people saw a metal construction support beam with a sports bra on it:
Others saw ketchup, mustard and a variety of liquids being poured into underwear:
Some saw side-by-side absorbency tests:
Or a bra at a firehouse down the street:
But none of this matters. The only thing that matters is that some people saw an ad that triggered memories and feelings of being unsafe, or worse, abused.
We have a lot to learn from this mistake and please believe us when we say that the learning and recourse is well underway. In the interim, all we can do is provide context and say that we are sorry. 15,000 people were served the ad and as such we will be donating $15,000 worth of underwear to CAMH which provides support, counseling and resources for women all across Toronto. We are proud to have a long history of working with CAMH, and will also be donating $5 for every person that visits our Life After Birth Gallery in Toronto next week.
We are so very sorry, and we hope that this context is helpful.
Thank you for reading,
Joanna and the rest of Team Knix