Sin City is cleaning up its act! A few weeks after Sharper Image debuted its holiday campaign featuring a scantily clad Heidi Klum, the ads were turned away from McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. Apparently, the black-and-white shots of the supermodel violate Clark County's stance against "the showing of the female breast with less than a fully opaque covering or any portion thereof below the nipple." (This sounds like a bit of a technicality to us, but what do we know?)
The "Gift Right" campaign's images show the America's Got Talent judge lounging casually in various states of undress. From a slinky black dress (basically the unofficial uniform of women in Las Vegas) to worn-in jeans to nothing at all, her looks definitely capture your attention… which, we're pretty sure, is precisely what Sharper Image was intending.
Next to the pictures are suggestive questions with surprising answers. "What turns Heidi Klum on?" one banner asks: The answer is the Sharper Image charge tower. Another wants to know, "What keeps Heidi Klum busy in the shower?" Give up? It's the company's shower speaker, obviously.
"Indoor advertising at McCarran International Airport is managed through a contracted firm, Las Vegas-based Alliance Airport Advertising," Christine Crews, the Public Information Administrator for Clark County Department of Aviation, told The Insider With Yahoo in statement on Friday. "An initial set of five Sharper Image ad images featuring Heidi Klum were presented to Alliance on Dec. 17. In Alliance’s estimation, the ads did not comply with Clark County Code.
"That same day, Alliance requested the ads be revised to address the aforementioned concerns, all related to the creative content’s compliance with Clark County Code. Iconix Brand Group – Sharper Image’s advertising firm – submitted amended proofs to Alliance yesterday, and all five ads were subsequently approved. Such give and take is common in advertising, and to suggest the entire campaign was “banned” is inaccurate. Travelers in Las Vegas will see Ms. Klum’s Sharper Image ads in place at McCarran from Jan. 3-9 – the very same dates Iconix initially requested for these ads to appear."
In other words, the ads that were released nationwide in time for the holidays will appear in an altered form at the Vegas airport... long after the Christmas rush.
But this isn't the first time that ads featuring Klum have been shut down. In the summer of 2013, a billboard promoting season 12 of Project Runway was banned in Los Angeles (another city that's not exactly known for its conservative values). The "Fashion Reigns" campaign ad featured Heidi Klum and co-host Tim Gunn in sumptuous, regal attire and wielding whips — with a gang of ultra-toned, greased-up, buck-naked models at their feet.
Still, a side picture of Klum in a pair of jeans with no top is a far cry from nine naked models groping each other on the floor. Not surprisingly, the Sharper Image is none too pleased with this censorship.
"We are shocked that the Sharper Image ads featuring Heidi Klum have been banned in Las Vegas — of all places," Dari Marder, the Chief Marketing Officer of Iconix Brand Group lamented. "We believe the campaign is tasteful, beautiful, and while sexy, not inappropriate in any way. The reaction to it has been fabulous to date and it is running in all forms of media without any issue."
For her part, the 41-year-old star has yet to comment publicly on the issue, though earlier in the week she made it clear that she's on board with the tongue-in-cheek campaign. Sharing a photo from the shoot, Klum joked, "Dear Santa, please bring me some pants as I seem to have misplaced mine."
While it's indisputable that Klum isn't wearing much in the pictures, whether the images are really over the line is up for debate. Now that everyone's talking about the ads being yanked, however, it seems the Sharper Image is getting its media buy's worth of publicity just the same.