Diamonds are a lech's best friend

Jewelry.com yanks one sexy ad after a group of angry fathers protests -- but its "toned down" replacement is pretty saucy.


Janelle Brown
December 13, 1999 10:00PM (UTC)

The woman's ruby-red lips are pulled back in an orgasmic grimace, her cleavage busting out of her green silk bra as she thrusts backwards, while the naked man sitting between her thighs does something we can't see with his hands. A diamond pendant drapes around the woman's neck. "Trust us, a food processor won't get you there," says the script above.

An endorsement for an escort service? Nope, it's an ad for Jewelry.com.

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Earlier this week, the 2-week-old online jewelry retailer debuted its provocative ad campaign with this glossy full-page ad in U.S. News & World Report. By Wednesday, however, Jewelry.com had decided to pull the ad in wake of protest from an organization called Dads & Daughters. Not everyone, it seems, is amused by the idea of a sexpot diva offering up her oyster to anyone who buys her a big enough pearl.

"It tells them that the most important thing in a relationship is sex, and the way to get it is to pay for it," Dads & Daughters executive director Joe Kelly complained in a letter to Jewelry.com. The "damaging message is that women are willing and ready to sell their bodies and sexual access in return for a piece of jewelry."

Dad & Daughters is a new organization, less than a year old, intended to help fathers forge stronger relationships with their daughters and "transform the pervasive messages that value girls more for how they look than who they are." As a kind of proto-feminist movement for enlightened fathers who are concerned about girls who grow up with bad self-images, Dads and Daughters has also given away 2,000 copies of "Healthy Body Image: Teaching Kids to Eat and Love Their Bodies Too!"

Jewelry.com was flooded with mail from outraged dads like Kelly; according to Jewelry.com CEO Scott Shlecter, the company was quick to pull the ad campaign when it realize the ads had offended. "It was not meant to titillate ... the ad was meant in fun. We meant to be eye-catching," Shlecter says. "Clearly, some people interpreted it in a way that went beyond what we intended."

But while the offending ad that appeared in U.S. News & World Report will not be seen again, Jewelry.com will continue to run several other ads with different pictures -- including one that appeared in Friday's New York Times, which Shlecter calls a "more toned-down version" of the first ad.

Just how "toned down," however, is debatable. In this ad, which features the same naked couple, the woman sits behind the man with her arms wrapped around his chest, practically biting his ear off while he appears to groan with pleasure. Again, she is dripping in jewels; he, incidentally, is not. "Fire your marriage counseler," advises the text.

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Perhaps Jewelry.com should just fire its advertising director?


Janelle Brown

Janelle Brown is a contributing writer for Salon.

MORE FROM Janelle Brown


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