The Yves Saint Laurent TV ad for Belle D'Opium has been banned in the UK as the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) considered the woman running her finger down her inner arm is simulating drug use.
The new ad for Belle D'Opium fragrance by Yves Saint Laurent
features French actress Melanie Thierry dancing sensuously, in a
series of captivating gestures. At one moment in the commercial,
she runs a finger down the inside of her forearm. In the end of the
clip a voice says "I am your addiction, I am Belle D'Opium. The new
fragrance by Yves St Laurent."
The actress running her finger down her inner arm was the main reason for the ad to be banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) after receiving 13 complaints from viewers saying that the ad was offensive as the actress is simulating drug use. Moreover, ASA was also concerned by the fact that the actual dance scene, consisting of short and rapid movements, ending with the actress lying on the floor, might be considered as simulating the effect of drugs on the body.
"While we noted the consumer research found that most viewers did not consider the ad to be offensive, we nevertheless considered the woman's actions simulated drug use, and therefore concluded it was irresponsible and unacceptable for broadcast" ASA said.
YSL Beauté responded saying that it wasn't their intention to use drug imagery in the ad. "The advertisement was not intended to make any reference to drug culture, but to promote the sensuality and seductive qualities of the fragrance in keeping with the Opium brand which was launched by Yves Saint Laurent over thirty years ago," said a spokesperson of the company.
He also added that the ad for Belle D'Opium was previously tested and consumers didn't see it in that way. "In a consumer test in France before the advertisement was broadcast, no connection with drugs was perceived. Further consumer tests carried out in the UK after broadcast confirmed YSL's view that the Belle d'Opium advertisement was not contentious".
The choreography in the ad was made by dancer Akram Khan, MBE, who said that he wanted to create an ad inspired by the concept of the removal of excessive movement, focusing on the most simple and profound things. However, ASA ruled that the ad will not be broadcast again in its current form.