Thursday, February 3, 2011

Belle Gets Banned


Luis Suarez scored on his Liverpool debut as the Reds began their post-Fernando Torres era by beating Stoke 2-0. Steven Gerrard’s shot bounced off Stoke players gathered in the box before dropping to Raul Meireles who smashed the ball in left-footed (47) to put the Reds ahead. Then a Dirk Kuyt flick enabled Suarez to round Potters keeper Asmir Begovic and despite Andy Wilkinson's attempt at a sliding interception, slotted home (79) to wrap up all three points for Liverpool.

I think it was Fyodor Dostoevsky who said that “boredom excites imagination”. This was apparent when thirteen individuals who did view the Yves St Laurent commercial succumbed to the numbing choreography of platitudinous body movements, and thought they saw the female dancing star (‘Belle’: model and actress Melanie Thierry) cavorting as if she was high on drugs. They might also have believed that they were trapped in a languid state of lethargic stupor for nearly 60 seconds and in order to spare others from this ghastly fate of deathly boredom, they decided to protest about this offensive ad.

And so UK’s Advertising Standards Authority agreed with the complainants and banned the television commercial for the YSL perfume Belle D'Opium.

YSL had said that the advert had been seen by more than 44 million people at least once and that they had not received any complaints. In fact, they had commissioned a survey of 96 French women with the result that none had come away with the impression of harm, offence or drug use. A survey of more than 400 British women also found the commercial to be 'acceptable' and 'created with a sense of responsibility'.

The company told the watchdog: “The average consumer would see the ad as an artistic endeavor to promote a sensual fragrance by YSL, and that it was therefore unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence to most viewers.”

ASA had explained: “We were concerned that in the context of the ad, Belle running her finger down her inner arm could be seen to simulate the injection of opiates into the body”.

'We were also concerned that following that scene, Belle was shown moving in a series of short, rapid scenes, before the ad concluded with her body seizing upwards while lying on the floor, an action we considered could be seen to simulate the effect of drugs on the body”.


I certainly didn’t expect these ASA people to be so prudish. If I scrutinize this commercial, I would agree with YSL that the advert does suggest the addictive qualities of women who wore the fragrance, rather than the addictive effects of narcotics. The voiceover did say: “I am your addiction, I am Belle D'Opium”.

As for the dance, all I see is seductive dance movements backed by pulsating drum beats. All in all, It is gripping, spellbinding and mesmerizing. Yes, numbing too.

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