High street fashion retailer Topshop has denied that its 2013 Christmas ad campaign, based around the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, is inappropriate. In a press release the company stated that ”the common values of family, strength and effortless fashion are exemplified by both the Kennedy family and Topshop. The brutal murder of JFK in November 1963 is an event etched onto the face of history, and in this 50th anniversary year we want you to remember where you were when you thought ‘what the bloody hell is that?’ when seeing our winter campaign homage”.
The 2 minute advert shows original footage of the killing intercut with newly-shot scenes starring British supermodel Candice Burgh-White as Jackie Kennedy. Ms Burgh-White models a range of Topshop items, from the ‘Everyday Mum’ Maxi Dress as she touches down at Dallas Love Field Airport on the morning of 22 November, to the glamorous ‘Classic Little Black Dress’ worn during the final scenes at Arlington National Cemetery, just as the strapline ‘give the lady what she wants this Christmas’ appears on screen.
“We’re not using gratuitous violence to sell fashion” said a Topshop spokesman. “At the moment of John’s death, the camera pans over the pieces of brain and skull fragments exploding and focuses on Jackie’s outfit, emphasising the classic but modern tailoring that makes this winter’s range both stylish and affordable – and machine washable”.
The advert is set to premiere next week, during a break in Emmerdale Farm. A spokesperson for the Kennedy family confirmed their disappointment that the mini-film had been created, but expressed relief that “at least it has that nice Emeli Sandé’s cover of East 17’s ‘Stay Another Day on it, instead of some god-awful Keane song” .