Austin startup Twyla, which runs an online marketplace for buying art, wanted to get its name out with a provocative online ad campaign.
But one ad, featuring a woman taking off her shirt under the headline "Get some" and the words "Recently Single. Buy Art," has been criticized as sexist by some online commentators.
Now the company is pulling it.
"The basis of the ad campaign is essentially, there's an event: It's your birthday, you're recently single, buy art," said Brian Sharples, Twyla co-founder and chairman.
"We launched with 16 different treatments of the campaign. Out of those 16, one has become controversial with a couple people in the art world. Obviously there was no intent to be sexist. No one has complained about the one with a guy. But we don't want to offend anyone, so we decided at least for now, to put it aside."
Sharples, who previously founded Austin vacation rental site HomeAway, said the campaign, which is running on Facebook, was meant to be edgy.
"The campaign itself is working well. It's provocative and it's not targeted at the traditional art world. It's targeted at young consumers and making it easier to help them start collecting art," he said. "In general, we judge ads by whether they generate traffic and attention for our artists. And this was one of our best performing ads. But at the same time, we don't want to offend anyone. So that's why we made this decision."
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