Following complaints by the public that the TV ads for Yves Saint Laurent's new fragrance Belle d'Opium, starring French actress Melanie Thierry, "simulate drug use," Britain's Advertising Standards Authority has banned the ads in the UK.
Thierry points to her elbow and then runs her finger down her arm during the choreography of a dance set against the sound of drums. Thirteen people filed complaints against the suggestive nature of her movements.
The connotation of drugs is likely if the name of a product contains the word "opium" but, according to the Daily Telegraph, YSL Beauté said it "suggests the addictive qualities of women who wear the fragrance, rather than the addictive effects of narcotics."
Also, the brand said it tested the ads in France where the audience seemed less sensitive: "In a consumer test in France before the advertisement was broadcast, no connection with drugs was perceived. Further consumer tests carried out in the UK after broadcast confirmed YSL's view that the Belle d'Opium advertisement was not contentious," a spokesperson said.
The ads for YSL's Opium, a fragrance created in the 1970s, have a history of causing controversy, although mainly for being too sexually provocative.
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