Advertising is never easy and plenty of brands make mistakes along the way, including gay ones. But has any gay brand messed us badly as underwear brand Andrew Christian?
Since 2001, Andrew Christian has become a popular underwear brand amongst queer men. While they might excel at giving queer men an extra bit of sex appeal underneath their clothes, they’ve blundered many of their marketing campaigns towards them. From sending celeb nudes in email blasts to leveraging Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to promote their undies to fumbling their latest body inclusivity campaign, Andrew Christian can make you feel sexy, but their marketing campaigns make it hard to like them.
Here are some of the messy marketing moments in the last 5 years by Andrew Christian.
#1 Sharing Tom Daley’s Leaked Nudes (2018)
However, This isn’t the first faux pas committed by Andrew Christian, but it is one of the most famous ones. In 2018, the underwear brand used Olympic swimmer Tom Daley’s nudes in an email blast. The British athlete had his nudes leak a week before the incident and Andrew Christian was quick to leverage the photo fiasco as part of the marketing.
The page was taken down, more than likely at the behest of lawyers, but the damage was done and social media users were quick to criticize, and rightfully so. But this was just the beginning of a trend in marketing mistakes by Andrew Christian.
#2 Topher DiMaggio Sexual Assault Allegations (2018)
That same year, they came under fire when Andrew Christian model Topher DiMaggio received not one, not two, but five sexual assault allegations, including an incident that occurred at an Andrew Christian event. In January 2018, adult star Tegan Zayne penned a Twitter post accusing DiMaggio of rape. Zayne claimed DiMaggio had strongly pressured him into having sex the night before filming a scene for the gay porn studio Cocky Boys. DiMaggio denied the accusations, but more survivors came out to tell their stories with DiMaggio.
The popular Andrew Christian model’s image was everywhere on the site, even after the allegations were made. The site eventually cropped DiMaggio’s head out of images, but site visitors could decipher DiMaggio from his tattoos. Ultimately, the underwear brand suspended him indefinitely, but not before he was featured in a Andrew Christian web series during this time.
#3 Slave Harness on a Model of Color (2020)
It gets worse from here. In 2020, the underwear used a model of color to promote their new “Slave Net C-Ring Harness”. The site description read, “When you climb into our brand new Slave C-Ring Harness you’re stepping into your role as the submissive slave that you are. Let him know that you’re here to please in this flattering cut and hot strappy design. Because when you’re wearing this, who could resist punishing a naughty slave?”
Jeff White, cofounder of Andrew Christian penned a letter of apology to The Advocate, vowing that the images of the model would be replaced “immediately”.
“…our ‘Master’ and ‘Slave’ harnesses and underwear only reference the ‘Master’ and ‘Slave’ terminology of the BDSM culture and has nothing to do with anything else,” said White. “We sincerely apologize if anyone finds the image of the model offensive and we will replace it immediately.”
Bad marketing and an even worse apology.
#4 Ukrainian Flag Underwear Giveaway (2022)
In 2022, they were slammed for leveraging Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to promote their products. The underwear brand cofounder of the same name took to Instagram to giveaway signed undies in the colors of the Ukrainian flag. The post’s caption reads, “I’m giving away a custom pair of autographed underwear I created in support of the Ukraine to 1 person randomly. All you have to do is tell me in the comments what Ukrainian charity you’ve donated to and why you support”
Well, using an ongoing humanitarian crisis to promote your product is a new low. Andrew Christian followed up with an apology, clarifying that they had donated to charities supporting Ukraine. “Andrew Christian has also donated to charities that are helping Ukraine. We apologize for not making that clear in the post; however, we did not want people to think we were trying to take advantage of the unfortunate humanitarian crisis and precarious political situation by touting our own donations.”
#5 Thick And Its Attempt at Body Positivity (2023)
Its latest snafu is just one example of the many times that the fan’s customer base has pushed back against what it was trying to sell. On Sunday, the Andrew Christian Twitter account tweeted about the underwear brand’s new line, THICK, catered towards plus-sized men. The tweet consisted of a picture of six individuals, three in the buff and three in Andrew Christian jockstraps, with the words “THICK. Sexy is not a size” displayed above them. The caption of the tweet reads “THICK is coming in a few days at AndrewChristian.com #bodypositivitymovement #inclusivity”
While the ad supposedly champions “inclusivity”, all of the models used were either lighter skinned, white, or white passing. Also, not all of the bodies present necessarily scream “thick”, a slang word used primarily in Black culture to describe someone who’s curvaceous and voluptuous. Lastly, even though the sizes for the collection range from small to 2XL, their site says that the 2XL size is only available while supplies last. More brands are popping up, such as Savage x Fenty in 2018 and Carter Wear in 2019, already designed with everyone in mind. So for Andrew Christian to jump on the “body positivity bandwagon” it just feels opportunistic.
Needless to say, Andrew Christian has been missing the mark for a while now, and the internet took note once again.