Recently an advert for Belle D’Opium, a new fragrance from Yves St Laurent was banned for “simulating drug use”. Obviously I went straight off to watch the offending advert, and I can confirm that yes, when the French actress in the advert runs a finger down her arm it does indeed look as though she might be injecting herself. From here the actress writhes around out of control before eventually crashing to the floor, further fueling the drug simulation. I decided to go off in search for further banned adverts to see what I could find. There are a lot. I think that highly controversial adverts can work well, but the trick is to just walk a fine line not go galloping over the line to the point where the advert is banned.
Here is a great one from 7up, although sadly the advertising authority did not agree. I like this one because you just don’t know what to expect! Check it out and see for yourself…
This Eva Mendes advert for Calvin Klein fragrance “Secret Obsession” was deemed far to raunchy for US audiences. A watered down version is to be aired in the US while European audiences are the only ones to be treated to the full unsanitised version.
How about this advert from Snickers which received thousands of complaints for being offensive to gay people. The advert was for UK audiences but it was from the US that the complaints came. Despite receiving just 2 complaints in the UK, Mars decided to pull the advert anyway due to the alarm it caused across the pond. Incidentally it was the same agency (AMV BBDO) who created this advert and the following Heinz – Deli Mayo advert which was also deemed offensive because it shows two men kissing.
And here is the ad in question. There is surely more than a hint of irony that both adverts are deemed offensive? What do you think?
Finally the following advert for Skoda Octavia was banned. Featuring a woman jumping off a bridge onto a speeding train and then smashing through a train carriage window caused offense because apparently a. it could encourage vandalism to trains or railway property, b. it could encourage children to replicate the move, c. it is reminiscent of a suicide and d. it is reminiscent of train crashes when windows have to be smashed to rescue people.
Tell us what you think. Are the advertising standards authority right to ban these adverts?