Wednesday, November 9, 2011

No! Lola! — Marc Jacobs ad banned in the UK

Adweek reports that the controversial campaign for Marc Jacobs' Oh! Lola!, starring 17-year-old American actress Dakota Fanning, was banned by the ASA.

From the ruling:

"The ASA understood that the ad had appeared in publications with a target readership of those over 25 years of age.  We noted that the model was wearing a thigh length soft pink, polka dot dress and that part of her right thigh was visible.  We noted that the model was holding up the perfume bottle which rested in her lap between her legs and we considered that its position was sexually provocative.  We understood the model was 17 years old but we considered she looked under the age of 16.  We considered that the length of her dress, her leg and position of the perfume bottle drew attention to her sexuality.  Because of that, along with her appearance, we considered the ad could be seen to sexualise a child.  We therefore concluded that the ad was irresponsible and was likely to cause serious offence."

I agree that the ad is irresponsible. But there is a big difference between being offended and wanting to censor. This is where I often find the British regulator crosses the line. According to its ruling, "four readers challenged whether the ad was offensive and irresponsible as it portrayed the young model in a sexualised manner." Four!

Way to go, ASA. The ad would have gone away soon, because it is only one of many of its type. But this ruling will only help Marc Jacobs and Coty, the perfume manufacturer, and for all the wrong reasons. The ad was sleazy, especially since it features an underage actress who—like Brooke Shields before her—has been the disturbing focus of ephebophilic interest since she was 12. (She also played many sexualized roles in movies and ads at a tender age.) Now that the ad is certified perverted, it will capture the interest of a whole new audience.

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