YSL ad banned for drug imagery

Perfume maker YSL has been slammed by the advertising watchdog for a television ad that shows a woman simulating drug use.


The ad for Belle D’Opium perfume has been banned for being irresponsible and offensive.

It shows a woman dancing to a drum beat then pointing to her inside arm and running her finger along it. She is then shown lying on the floor and a voiceover says: “I am your addiction. I am Belle D’Opium. The new fragrance by Yves St Laurent.”

YSL says that it did not intend to use drug imagery in the ad and its consumer research showed consumers had not interpreted the ad in that way. It added that the tagline “the addiction” was a core value of YSL but in a positive way in the sense of “devoted to life, addicted to love”.

The company added that it believed the average consumer would see the ad as an “artistic endeavour to promote a sensual fragrance by YSL” and therefore it was unlikely to cause offence.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) says while it noted the ad was stylised to emphasise the powerful and intense qualities of the perfume the TV ad was only a 20 second excerpt from a one minute web ad.

This meant it “created a less flowing, more frantic atmosphere” and the final imagery of the character lying on the floor could be seen to simulate the effect of drugs on the body.

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