Sixty years ago photographer Sam Shaw, who was friends with Marilyn Monroe, created a photo publicity stunt to promote The Seven Year Itch. Even if you have never seen the movie, you know the photos. The image he planned was manipulative, sexy, cheeky, fun, and creative. The pre-arranged dress malfunction was originally filmed on the street where press and bystanders were invited to watch, and to generate buzz for the movie. The crowds were so loud that the footage was unusable so the scene was shot again on a closed soundstage where Shaw was also allowed to capture images. This series of photographs became the iconic images of Marilyn Monroe and a classic pin-up form that has been copied over and over.
Fast forward those sixty years and we find Coca-Cola creating a 2014 product launch campaign for FairLife that is currently being raked over the internet coals for being manipulative and sexist. The Coke campaign features classic pin-up poses, including one inspired by the Sam Shaw photograph. Many of the others are based on the classic pin-up work of Gil Elvgren. All the images were originally captured for another project and then licensed by Coca-Cola, who have since abandoned the ad campaign. Jaroslav Wieczorkiewicz is the photographer and he and his team are known for their beautifully lit fashion photos, nudes, conceptual art, and liquid "paint" photos.
In short, a model has liquid splashed, poured, or dripped over them as images are captured. A single pose may require hundreds of liquid splashes. The final product is a layered image of all the liquid thrown on or around the model to "dress" them. None of the liquid is photoshopped, just multiple exposures of the same scene layered.
So what makes one photo iconic and the other fodder for internet disgust?