We Gauge The Reaction To Andrej Pejic’s Lingerie Campaign in Amsterdam

16 December 2011

We Gauge The Reaction To Andrej Pejic’s Lingerie Campaign in Amsterdam

It’s a bust-stop!

Model Andrej Pejic could well be the fashion world’s liberality litmus test, having provoked outrage by appearing ‘topless’ on the cover of edgy Dossier magazine and a worldly shrug from the French when he stormed the John Paul Gautier catwalk in a see-through wedding gown. So we weren’t entirely surprised, when, earlier this week, it was those clever clogs Dutch – with their liberated, legalise-everything approach to life* - who finally gave the Serbian beauty his high-street break, in a push-up bra campaign, of all things, for retail giant HEMA, a store akin to the late, great Woolworths in terms of its fashion credentials.

Of course, the uplifting images of Andrej sparked debate (not to mention incalculable free publicity) on the Internet, but what does your average Dutch person think of the ads, in the country where the ads are actually running? As Grazia Daily's guest blogger, I took to the bus stops of Amsterdam to find out.

Incidentally, while I – like most of the people I spoke to – applaud HEMA for its charmingly light-hearted campaign, I’d like to point out that they’re less open-minded when a man goes into one of their stores and tries to take a picture of its push-up bras. Just saying.

Claire, 29, sales executive

Already knew? 'Yes. And they say Holland is flat! I love this campaign, it’s exactly the right balance of cheeky and provocative.'

Ruud, 53, software developer

Already knew? 'No. I’m really shocked because I had no idea it was a boy! Looking at the eyes, I think you can tell if you look really closely. We’re pretty cool with gender and sexuality in the Netherlands, so I don’t think this will cause a scandal.’

Lara, 20, carer

Already knew? 'No. It’s funny because the imagery they’ve used is way too glamorous for the shop. The model isn’t perfect, and I like that. But I assumed it was a girl, of course! It must have been done with Photoshop, no?'

Alia, Retired

Already knew? 'No. I don’t like her beauty marks very much. Otherwise quite unremarkable. Do you have some discount vouchers for me, then?’

Mark, 22, sports marketing student

Already knew? 'No. That’s a dude? No way! Well, he’s extremely handsome, isn’t he! I think models generally are quite androgynous at the moment.’

Danny, 18, communications student

Already knew? 'No. I think he may regret it in ten year’s time. I sure hope they’re paying him well.'

Amory, 31, marketing executive

Already knew? 'Yes. A friend of mine works for HEMA and had tipped me off, so I was looking out for these. For a mass-market brand, they’re extremely brave in the way they advertise. It’s admirable.'

Michael & Jeffrey, 17 & 15, students

Already knew? 'No' and 'Yes.' M: ‘She looks hot! But I feel bad now that you’ve told me it’s a guy!’ J: ‘This was all over the internet, so I already knew. Ha ha!’

Zaera, 28, teacher

Already knew? 'No. That’s a proper surprise! But a totally great idea! I guess the product really works, then.'


Already knew? 'No. I don’t think I’d buy the bra because she still looks quite flat-chested to me. It’s a man? Wow, that’s cool!’

George, 22, student

Already knew? 'No. She’s absolutely gorgeous and beautiful. I had absolutely no idea, although now I look at the image again I guess it’s not the bustiest model they could have chosen!’

Celina & Marloes, 19 & 19, make up artists

Already knew? 'No' and 'Yes'. C: ‘My friend just told me about this. Amazing! We’ve just been staring at it for 10 minutes!’ M: ‘I think it’s a really positive campaign. Go Holland!’

Andras, 18, student

Already knew? 'No. That’s crazy! I’ve seen this ad all over town and thought it was quite unremarkable. Until now.’

Charlotte, 22, dancer

Already knew? 'Yes. I don’t find it that remarkable, to be honest, but then I’m quite open-minded. You should dress however you want to dress. I’m going to show this to a friend of mine. It would be his dream to be styled like this!’


* slight reliance on easy stereotype here. They also live in windmills, FYI.

Mark Smith is a freelance journalist and blogger, follow him on Twitter @amancalledmark



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Valerie Iamacanuck (Fri Dec 16 16:34:45 GMT 2011): Andrej Pejic model for Hemal Bras....Can you tell that he is a man? Imagine what the Bra could do for us ladies.
Mars Dominae (Fri Dec 16 19:56:08 GMT 2011): Bravo for The Netherlands muahahaa. Love Andrej Pejic. He's just Andrej Pejic and he's fabulous. People should stop making his gender and sexuality a fuss.
James Wilkinson (Sat Dec 17 06:52:22 GMT 2011): If they stopped making a fuss he'd be out of a job.
Mars Dominae (Sat Dec 17 08:48:44 GMT 2011): James Wilkinson I believe that is not the case. He has the looks that the fashion world wants. His gender or sexuality should not matter.
MoTravels (Sat Dec 17 09:48:26 GMT 2011): What do you think of HEMA's edgy lingerie ad? #Holland
Christopher Koulouris (Sat Dec 17 15:58:14 GMT 2011): This in itself is slowly becoming the lynch pin to captivating brand development, attaching a controversial idea to mundane articles such as push up bras- after all, as most marketers will tell you, buying goods and services is rarely about the thing itself but what it represents in the eye of the beholder and conversely what it represents to the peers they are trying to impress. http://scallywagandvagabond.com/2011/12/andrej-pejic-astounds-once-again-with-push-up-bra-campaign/
James Wilkinson (Sun Dec 18 04:33:02 GMT 2011): Mars Dominae No doubt - he's beautiful and I was being hyperbolic. But the 'controversy' stirred up by campaigns such as this massively increase his profile and help get him work. His whole unique selling poin (horrible phrase, but applicable here) is his androdgyny, and the reason it sells is because people make a fuss. However distasteful you may find the fuss that people make, it's absolutely central to his career and success, and no doubt adds tens (hundreds?) of thousands onto the amount that he can charge for campaigns like this.
Mars Dominae (Sun Dec 18 09:51:41 GMT 2011): James Wilkinson 'However distasteful you may find the fuss that people make, it's absolutely central to his career and success' Well, yes I can't argue with that :D You're right, as long as it's good for him, I guess I'll have to let it go.
James Wilkinson (Mon Dec 19 02:20:09 GMT 2011): Mars Dominae Also that should be 'unique selling point'. Damn typos!
Mars Dominae (Mon Dec 19 16:37:10 GMT 2011): James Wilkinson I know hahaha ;P