London: Watchdog Bans Perfume Advert Over Drug Abuse Simulation

2 Feb

A perfume advert has been banned because it appears to show a woman simulating drug use.

Perfume Ad Banned Over Drug Use Simulation Enlarge photo 
The TV ad for Yves Saint Laurent‘s Belle D’Opium showed a woman dancing to a drum beat, pointing to her inner elbow and running her finger along the inside of her forearm.

The model was then shown lying on the floor as a voiceover said: “I am your addiction. I am Belle D’Opium. The new fragrance by Yves Saint Laurent.”

The Advertising Standards Authority said it was concerned that the image of Belle running her finger down her inner arm could be seen to simulate the injection of opiates into the body.

It also expressed concern that the image of Belle moving in a series of short, rapid scenes, before the ad concluded with her body seizing upwards while lying on the floor, could be seen to simulate the effect of drugs on the body.

The ASA said: “While we recognised the name Opium was a well-known designer perfume brand and did not consider it irresponsible or offensive to advertise Opium branded products … we nevertheless considered the woman’s actions simulated drug use, and therefore concluded it was irresponsible and unacceptable for broadcast.”

Thirteen viewers complained that the advert was irresponsible and offensive because of the woman’s actions.

Defending the ad, YSL said it did not intend to use drug imagery and had conducted research that showed consumers had not interpreted it in that way.

The advert clearly displayed the perfume bottle and YSL name, and the character Belle appeared to be a healthy, vibrant woman expressing her sexuality, the company insisted.

The ad was choreographed by Akram Khan who said the gestures in question represented “the circle of life, the flow of energy in Belle’s body and a sense of life being given out of the earth”.


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