There can be any numbers of reasons why an advertising campaign would be banned. Common factors include indecent exposure, nudity, sex, glamorising violence, drugs, or generally any image that could result in a person behaving in an inappropriate or indecent way. But in this day and age are people really bothered by a bit of nudity? Well, Apparently so. Here are a handful of high-end Fashion campaigns that caused controversy and were ultimately banned.
Yves Saint Laurent
In the history of controversial ads, this one seems to be pretty reserved. Back in 2000 acclaimed photographer Steven Meisel caused outrage with this shoot featuring a naked Sophie Dahl sprawled over black satin in aid of YSL’s Opium perfume. You would think that perhaps by now people have seen it all before and would not particularly care about this image either way. But no, because of the model’s ‘sexually suggestive pose’ it attracted over 700 complaints. It was seen to be degrading and offensive. It was therefore banned by the ASA and taken down from Billboards all over the UK.
Once again it was Steven Meisel who created a stir in SS09 with this CK Jeans campaign. He was accused of taking the concept that sex sells too far in this racy ad connotating group sex. Surely not! This led to the advert being banned in the US for being too provocative. Calvin Klein are no stranger to controversy and the company seem to be pleased with the hype it creates. Meisel is also responsible for the Calvin Klein Secret Obsession perfume campaign with a naked Eva Mendes, which was also banned in the US for being too sexy. Mendes admitted that she loved the fact it was banned – “That means the ads are totally Calvin, totally provocative and a little controversial”.
Dov Charney, founder of American Apparel, is notorious for his inappropriate and scandalous behaviour. He has been known to do such things as conduct interviews in his underwear, harass employees and has faced scrutiny for using amateur or porn star models in his adverts. This campaign was banned because it seemed to sexualize a model that appeared to be underage. Really though Dov, what were you thinking? With the naked close ups, cheap innuendo and the distasteful slogan – it’s no wander it was withdrawn.
Terry Richardson is renowned for his soft porn approach to fashion photography. Nevertheless he is loved among the fashion elite and even President Obama. No less provocative than Mr. Charney, Richardson too has been the centre of controversy surrounding his approach to women. He has previously been accused of alleged misconduct against models and the exploitation of young girls. His work is often so inappropriate that it is on the edge of mainstream advertising and on the boarder of pornography. This Tom Ford perfume campaign is no exception. These somewhat explicit and grotesque images (in particular the image of the model and the dog) are undeniably a little sick and the advert was unsurprisingly banned.
Tom Ford is responsible for some of the most controversial adverts of all time. This campaign for Gucci in 2004 is another example of his explicit approach to advertising. The advert does not leave much to the imagination and caused shock among the public and was certainly a talking point in the fashion world. With the letter ‘G’ shaved into the pubic hair of model Carmen Mass the ad was seen as degrading to women. Dubbed by photographer Mario Testino as ‘Pubic Enemy’ – the one thing that isn’t shocking about the ad is that is was banned instantly.