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Dear Tommy Hilfiger Advertising Manager,
“Just be you!” I’m sure one experiences a bit of their own nostalgia at the sight of the following phrase; anything from making new friends in preschool to being on a difficult job interview, “just being yourself” has always been said to be the best way to approach any uncomfortable situation. This is why an ad of yours that I have recently come across has significantly astounded me. The ad that I speak of pictures a flock of sheep standing in front of an American flag (the obvious symbol for Tommy) and, displayed at the bottom, a slogan that reads “follow the flock”. I was perplexed that a company of your stature and prestige would want anyone to just “follow the flock”. So I asked myself: “Would wearing Tommy Hilfiger really make me fit in?” and “Would I rather wear Tommy Hilfiger and be ‘like the flock’ or would I rather be the individual I have been brought up to be.” If the intention of the advertisement is to simply have everyone wearing your clothing line, then I suppose your slogan suits this purpose, but being one who was targeted with this ad, I feel that your company should have gone with more of an individualistic approach.
Although your ad may be directed toward any number of age groups, it particularly had an effect on me. I have been wearing your clothing line for as far back as I can remember so I had to frown upon the thought that all these years I may have only been “following the flock” instead of being myself. Being an 18 year old who has recently embarked in my first year college, I have found it difficult enough to stand out among a student body of well over 35,000. With the modern day misconception that the media has for what every man or woman “should” look like, individualism is something that is not only hard to find, but also hard to keep. So as much as I have marveled over your clothing line for the past decade or so, I can honestly say that I will think twice before buying a pair of your jeans over another.
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Along with affecting consumers around my age, I can also see how your ad may disturb individuals all over the nation. Being that your emblem and colors are those of the American flag, it is quite clear that Tommy Hilfiger prides itself in being an American-based company. So the problem lies in the contradictoriness of just this. To me, the sight of this flag promotes everything our country has built itself on: freedom and liberation. So it doesn’t make much sense for a flock of sheep, symbolizing conformity, to be grazing in front of an American flag, symbolizing independence. For this reason, those throughout the nation who have fought for our country’s right to be associated with our bountiful possibilities of liberties and freedoms may find this message both offensive and degrading.
Therefore, although I see that the intention of this ad was to get a vast amount of people to wear your clothing, I feel that Tommy Hilfiger should have taken a different approach. In such a cookie-cutter world, a company that is as well thought of as yours should be pressing individualism into Americans’ minds instead of consistency. Instead of using the unity of sheep to attract consumers, your company should simply stick with the American flag emblem in order to symbolize the values we are all so proud of: our independence. As Jo Coudert, a profound author once wrote, “For you cannot live in someone else. You cannot find yourself in someone else. You cannot be given a life by someone else. Of all the people you will know in a lifetime, you are the only one you will never leave or lose.”