The real-life boyfriends Vince Uy and Nino Gaddi’s blackened embracing hands billboard by Bench got notorious speculations asking who’s the guilty party decided to dim their sweet gestures of holding hands. Making a huge buzz online and helpful citizens exploring arts to bring back where their hands supposed to meet, #PaintTheirHandsBack hashtag campaign dominated the social media.
Nevertheless, Bench felt like to wriggle out the situation and did not give an eye to leave Council out of any charges.
Sneaking suspiciously made by Ad Standard Council, executive director Mila Marquez denied not behind the blurring of the photographs.
In a statement made to Rappler, “This particular series was not blurred by ASC. We were surprised [Bench] blurred it… Possibly because they think they will be given approval if they do that. We had a discussion with [Bench] particularly because they put up the billboards without clearance to display. If at all, they were given approval to produce it.”
It was only on Tuesday did Bench broke its silence about the controversial billboard. The time only did it admitted it has all the intention of defacing the pro-LGBT billboard.
In a statement sent to Style Bible, Bench cleared that the billboard along EDSA-Guadalupe displaying arm’s guy around his partner was neither defaced, vandalized, as what most people believed.
Bench pressumed that covering the hands of two male lovers would signal the family friendly-Ad Standard Council approval of billboard for installation.
Yet Bench’s distribution – intentionally- of publicity mockup of the EDSA billboard showing the unobscured hands of Uy and Gaddi widely lead the public to assume the billboard had been defaced.
Was it too late for Bench to clear its name? A clarification sent to Stylebible.ph was made by the lifestyle brand after the ASC statement.
“After having discovered the governing body’s clarified stance recently, where its director was quoted in Rappler to be accepting of Uy and Gaddi’s billboard, Bench would like to propose a replacement of the couple’s current billboard with that of the original image, hands clasped,” said Jojo Liamzon, head of Advertising and Promotions division of Bench.
Bench orchestrated a manipulative control over emotion, turning a petty vandalism into a massive marketing ploy. Allying parties gave in all-out support to Bench not until bitter regrets posts ruled over the social media after knowing no third party involved but it is the business which is to blame. Does it even need a praise for aiming an overwhelming publicity? Neither we consider it an original PR nor creative marketing. It was cheap trick, a cheated play, and worst of all, a dishonest control of emotions.
Bench, considered as one biggest-known clothing line in the country, must not forget to examine the sensitivity of the content. The first sight of its initial image was affirmed by LGBT community through its released of precovered unobscured hands material, however the alterations made the campaign horrendous. Afterall, the brand owner should know better than to get instructions from ad agents.