From banned substances to kissing pope and imam: the most scandalous advertising campaigns


From banned substances to kissing pope and imam: the most scandalous advertising campaigns

From prohibited substances and nude models to cow udders – SPLETNIK.RU has collected 16 of the most controversial advertising campaigns in history that have been banned.

Calvin klein

In 1980, Brooke Shields, who was then only 15, became the main character advertising campaign Calvin Klein Jeans. In Richard Avedon’s provocative video for an American brand, a minor model said this phrase:

Do you want to know what is between me and my jeans? Nothing.

Due to the scandal that erupted, the clip was banned by the ABC and CBS television networks, and the young star herself was proclaimed the new face of the sexual revolution, which was already gaining momentum in America.

By the way, Brooke Shields two years ago resumed cooperation with the brand and again starred for an american brand.

Calvin klein

In 1995, brand advertising Calvin klein again was at the center of the scandal. The fact is that the very heroes of the video then became very young models. As a result, many accused the brand of distributing child pornography. Complaints became so frequent that the Ministry of Justice launched an investigation, which revealed that all the young men who appeared in the commercials were adults.


This Sisley advertising company, created by Terry Richardson, was launched in 2001. Josie Maran, drinking milk, was so frank and caused so many ambiguous associations that this work was never made public. The scene on the farm, as conceived by the photographer, was supposed to convey "a naturalistic view of life in the countryside."

Yves saint laurent

Yves Saint Laurent's iconic Opium fragrance ad, launched in 2002, received nearly 1,000 complaints. Due to "excessive frankness", it was decided to remove it from the billboards.

As the head of the UK Advertising Standards Commission stated then, the nude model Sophie Dahl in the photo is in a humiliating pose for women, and the poster itself was considered offensive and even capable of engaging in sexual violence.

Yves saint laurent

In 2002, photographer Samuel de Cuberra launched an advertising campaign for the M7 fragrance, inspired by the photo of the founder of the fashion house, Yves Saint Laurent.

It goes without saying that the image was censored.

Perfumes are worn on the skin, so why hide the body? The M7 campaign is very chaste, it's academic nudity,

– said then creative director of the brand Tom Ford.


Never be shy about your sexuality

– called Tom Ford.

In 2003, the designer joined forces with legendary photographer Mario Testino to create a series of advertising posters for Gucci. On them, model Carmen Cass lowers his underpants and exposes his pubis, shaved in the shape of the letter G (Gucci symbol), while the man presses it against the wall.


One of the 2007 Sisley posters shows two half-naked girls sniffing a white vest that looks very much like drugs. According to the official statements of the company’s management that soon followed, the advertising photos turned out to be fake.

These images violate Benetton's trademark rights to Sisley. Our legal department will take all possible measures to protect our rights and the rights of consumers,

– stated in the company.

Tom ford

In 2006, Terry Richardson created an advertising campaign for a perfume from an amateur to shock the audience of Tom Ford, which caused an unprecedented stir. In Italy, she was considered obscene and banned.

Miu miu

The main heroine of the 2011 Miu Miu advertising campaign was the novice actress Haley Steinfield, who was then only 14. As a result, the poster was banned in the UK. This decision was made by the British Advertising Standards Committee (ASA). Committee officials called the advertisement showing Steinfield “irresponsible,” because it shows a teenager in a dangerous situation. On Miu Miu posters, Haley sits on rails and cries.


Over the years, Sisley's parent company, Benetton, has produced mixed-brand advertising campaigns, making corporate representatives want to challenge generally accepted standards. In 2011, Benetton presented posters on which Pope Benedict XVI and Imam Ahmed al-Tayyib kiss. The Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi then said:

This indicates a deep disrespect for the pope, this is an insult to the feelings of believers.Benetton deputy head Alessandro Benetton admitted that the advertisement was indeed provocative, but said that "the main theme of this campaign is a kiss, the most universal symbol of love."

In addition to the pope and the Egyptian imam, Benetton kissed Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy, Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas, Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez, Kim Jong Il and Lee Myung-bak. So the brand tried to create a new culture of tolerance to overcome hatred.

Marc jacobs

In 2011, Marc Jacobs introduced the Oh Lola! Perfume advertising campaign. In the photographs, 17-year-old Dakota Fanning holds a perfume bottle between her legs. Advertising in the UK was banned because "experts" accused advertisers of cultivating child sexuality.


The 2011 Diesel Be Stupid campaign was banned throughout the UK by order of the Advertising Standards Authority. Officials recognized her as "indecent" and noted that she could negatively affect children, causing them to behave badly. Representatives of the brand did not agree with the ban, but were forced to comply with the order.

American apparel

Three years before the bankruptcy announcement in 2016, American Apparel launched this ad campaign with the participation of its employee. Despite the fact that the girl was wearing a voluminous sweater, the frame was recognized as too defiant and erotic and banned in the UK.

Miu miu

In 2015, the ASA UK Advertising Standards Commission banned the Miu Miu spring-summer campaign. According to experts, the actress from the second part of "Nymphomania" Mia Goth in the photo looks too lecherous and too young. Later, representatives of the brand had to provide evidence that the model was 22 years old, but the ban was not lifted.

Yves saint laurent

The Advertising Standards Authority banned the poster for the Edie Slimane collection for Yves Saint Laurent in 2015. And all because of the 18-year-old Kiki Willems, who, according to experts, looks too thin in the pictures. The Commission found the advertising irresponsible and noted that its publication violates the Code of the Committee on the observance of advertising practices. Just then, the French parliament passed a law prohibiting hiring unnaturally thin models.


Photos and videos from the 2016 Gucci Cruise advertising campaign were banned by the UK Advertising Standards Authority. Commission experts considered this to be propaganda of unhealthy thinness. Gucci officials said the dance party video is aimed at a more sophisticated adult audience. In addition, they added that they consider the issue of excessive thinness of models subjective.


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