We love a bit of a drama – so when the UK’s Advertising Standards Agency released its annual report of the ‘top ten most complained about ads of all time’, we couldn’t resist taking a peek. And guess what we found – remember that Sophie Dahl shoot for YSL? (The one where she’s, y’know, starkers.) Yep, 12 years after it was first released, it’s there. Oh dear.
The naughty shoot, which saw Sophie lying on her back in the nude, sparked controversy when it was released in 2000, prompting 948 complaints to flood the ASA office – and ranking it number eight on the most complained about ads of all time. About the ad the ASA said, ‘We agreed with public complaints that a poster ad for Opium perfume featuring a naked Sophie Dahl was sexually suggestive and, in an untargeted medium, likely to cause serious or widespread offence.’ Oo-oh.
The agency, which works to target potentially offensive adverts, has received around 431,000 complaints in the 50 years it’s been around. Also on the ‘top ten’ list and deemed less offensive than Sophie Dahl looking hot-to-trot were a scaremongering ad for climate change and a violent charity ad featuring drug taking. Hmm.
And then there are those riske fash-ads that didn’t make it on to the list at all – but that’s not to say they didn’t cause quite a stir. Late last year that amazing, but just a little naughty designer Marc Jacobs was given a telling off for his Oh Lola! perfume campaign, which showed beautiful but underage Hollywood actress Dakota Fanning – who is 17 - wearing a short, pale frilly dress with a huge purple-pink bottle of Oh Lola! resting between her legs.
Miu Miu also got into hot water with their dreamy shots of Hailee Steinfeld showcasing Miuccia Prada’s ‘40s-esque frocks – because she was sat near a railway. The ASA said that it encouraged young people to put themselves in dangerous situations.
But what do you think? Were the ASA right? Or is it just a lot of bother about nothing?