The Coco Mademoiselle commercial has Knightley spritzing on the fragrance before heading to a photo shoot where she’s photographed on a bed, sharing some intimate moments with a photographer. Advertising Standards Authority, the independent British advertising regulator, didn’t find this appropriate for young viewers.
A viewer, who saw the adduring a broadcast of the film Ice Age 2, filed a complaint that the commercial was “overtly sexual” and not suitable to be broadcast during a movie with kid appeal.
Fragrance ads have always been a controversial issue. In 2008, Eva Mendes’ television spot for Calvin Klein’s Secret Obsession perfume was banned in the United States. Two years later, the ASA banned Beyonce’s fragrance ad from airing before 7:30 p.m. in the U.K. And in 2011, the regulator also banned Dakota Fanning’s Marc Jacobs ads for the fragrance Oh, Lola! because they portrayed the star in an “irresponsible and sexualized manner.”
In this case, Chanel argued that its founder, Coco Chanel, was “known for being a strong, independent woman,” and said the character in the ad was intended to “reflect her spirit and embody the fragrance itself.”
The fashion house said the ad appeared during time slots throughout the day and Ice Age 2 was selected not only because it was animated, but because it also included “sharp humor” and the voices of well-known celebrities, which may have been appealing to adults. Chanel also argued a degree of sexual charge was typical in perfume advertisements, and that while Knightley’s character was playful and sensual, she wasn’t overtly sexual.