YSL Perfume Ad Banned For 'Simulated Drug Use'

02/02/2011 10:46 | Updated 22 May 2015

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has upheld complaints against a television advertisement for Yves Saint Laurent fragrance Belle D'Opium.

The advertisement featured a woman dancing to a drum beat. She then pointed to her inner elbow and ran her finger along the inside of her forearm. She was then shown lying on the floor as a voice-over began "I am your addiction, I am Belle D'Opium. The new fragrance by Yves Saint Laurent."

Thirteen viewers complained that the advertisement was "irresponsible and offensive, because the woman's actions simulated drug use".

Yves Saint Laurent responded that they adhered to a strict code of business ethics which governed how they behaved, and added that they did not intend to use drug imagery in the ad. The company argued that the name Belle D'Opium "suggested the addictive qualities of women who wore the fragrance rather than the addictive effects of narcotics".

The ASA report concluded that "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."

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