UK’s ASA bans YSL Opium ad – is it running scared?

Many government quangos have taken a hit under the coalition government, this being a pretty easy way to save money even if the same functions and often people tend to pop up somewhere else.

The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority is generally sensible and even useful, acting as a barrier to over-enthusiastic legislators.

But it seems to be becoming more cautious in these changed times, now banning Yves St Laurent’s new ad for Opium perfume, Belle d’Opium.

This shows a model writhing about (as you do) and looks much more like a reference to Belle Du Jour, the internet diary of a hooker and now a TV show with Billie Piper, than the joys of drug use.

But the ASA has received 13 complaints (not very many) and particularly dislikes the bit (you have to watch very carefully for this) where she rubs her finger along the inside of her arm. As you would if you were trying to inject.

But there’s fair amount of rubbing going on which obviously isn’t about injection.

A silly decision from a nervous authority?

The ASA says it isn’t bothered by the name Opium as it’s a well-known brand name, although you couldn’t imagine them being pleased if Jean-Paul Gaultier, for example, brought out a scent called crack cocaine.

Goodness knows what they’ll make of Lady Gaga’s new scent which allegedly majors on the smell of blood and semen.

But it will probably be OK so long as she doesn’t inject it.

YSL. of course, has previous form in the banning stakes. About a decade ago it got itself into trouble with this image of Sophie Dahl.

Those were the days.

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About Angie Dean