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Ad That Is Too Scandalous for Europe...

By Tyler Davis

They say any publicity is good publicity, but that is not always the case.

Britain's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has shut down Marc Jacobs' ad, for its Oh' fragrance Campaign, as it is just too scandalous. A recent ruling determined that the ad violated both the Social Responsibility and Harm and Offense codes (http://www.cap.org.uk/The-Codes/CAP-Code/CAP-Code-pdf-versions.aspx) in the UK. It depicts Dakota Fanning wearing a candy pink dress and eyeing the camera seductively, while the 17 year old holds a bottle of the perfume between her thighs (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2059097/Dakota-Fannings-sexually-provocative-perfume-ad-banned.html).

Who gets to decide when fashion and advertising cross the line? England has burdened the ASA (http://www.asa.org.uk/)with this job. According to its website, the ASA operates to "ensure ads are legal, decent, honest, and truthful;" and it functions on a complaint and ruling process. The general public is free to make comments and complaints to the ASA website regarding any ad campaign in England.

Fashion brands face legal and legislative obstacles when creating and publishing ads in global markets. What works in some venues, may just not be fashionable in another. It is important for everyone in design, marketing, and PR to communicate with in-house or outside counsel on matters of legality for copy and print in advertisements.

The ASA cited the ad as portraying "the young model in a sexualized manner," and that the positioning of the perfume bottle was sexually provocative. "We considered the ad could be seen to sexualize a child. We therefore concluded that the ad was irresponsible and was likely to cause serious offense."

So is fashion taking it too far? Marc Jacobs thinks not, and voiced his opinion on the matter stating many positive remarks about Ms. Fanning, "it's really unfortunate that people have taken anything negative from what we believe is a really good campaign, and one that so perfectly embodies the fragrance."

Fashion is art, and art is expression. Is letting the public decide what's acceptable the best way to regulate fashion advertising?

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 10, 2011 12:28 PM.

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