Dakota Fanning's "Sexually Provocative" Perfume Ad Banned in Britain!

U.K. media watchdog rules that Marc Jacobs' Lolita-inspired Oh, Lola! fragrance ad is inappropriate given the spokesmodel's age, bans it from getting reprinted across the pond

By Gina Serpe Nov 09, 2011 5:03 PMTags
Dakota Fanning, Marc Jacobs AdMarc Jacobs

Oh, Lola! got a little too Lolita for the U.K.'s liking.

Much like it did to Beyoncé, Christy Turlington, Julia Roberts and Angelina Jolie, Britain's ban-happy media watchdog has set its scrutinizing sights on Marc Jacobs' latest fragrance frontwoman Dakota Fanning, blocking her latest provocative print ad from its shores after declaring it too "sexually provocative" an image.

They made the decision after deciding that the imagery was inappropriate and receiving complaints about the ad. So, how many grievances did it take to get the shot banned?

Just four, if you can believe it.

The print ad—which has been out since June of this year—features the 17-year-old NYU student wearing a short, (little) girly nude-colored dress, provocatively holding a bottle of Jacobs' Oh, Lola! perfume between her upper thighs.

The ad appeared in several magazines and newspaper supplements across the U.K., and yielded just four complaints from offended readers, who said the ad was "irresponsible" and portrayed the actress in "a sexualized manner." Which was apparently enough for the Advertising Standards Authority to take action.

According to the ASA's ruling, the way in which the perfume bottle was positioned, slotted between Fanning's legs, "was sexually provocative" and "drew attention to her sexuality."

The publications which ran the ad argued that their target readership was over 25 years old, a demographic that wouldn't be offended by the ads and to whom the edgy shot would seem acceptable. However, the ASA wasn't biting, and said that Dakota's youthful looks made the ad even more appalling.

"We understood the model was 17 years old, but we considered she looked under the age of 16…Because of that, along with her appearance, we considered the ad could be seen to sexualize a child. We therefore concluded that the ad was irresponsible and was likely to cause serious offense."

As a result, the ASA has ruled that the ad cannot appear again in a U.K. publication.

Coty Inc., which makes the fragrances, argued that the ad was "provoking, but not indecent" and claimed that it didn't show any "private body parts or sexual activity," though obviously that argument fell on deaf ears.

Neither Fanning nor Jacobs has commented on the ban.