British advertising watchdogs have banned showings of Keira Knightley’s commercial for Chanel’s Coco Mademoiselle around children’s programmes and films.
The idea that children’s eyes need to be shielded from Keira Knightley’s performance will surprise viewers. Chanel defended the commercial, insisting it was playful and sensual rather than overtly sexual.
However, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in UK disagreed at a time when many parents, including PM David Cameron, are becoming increasingly concerned about the sexualization of children.
The commercial opened with Keira Knightley in tight leathers astride a motorbike racing through city streets, before cutting to a modeling scene where she is being photographed on a bed.
The relationship with the photographer becomes increasingly flirtatious and sexual as the man is seen unzipping her leather boots and attempting a kiss.
At one stage Keira Knightley’s bare shoulders are seen, while she is assumed to be naked beneath some sheets.
Just as the relationship seems certain to become even more intimate, she disappears out of the window and rides off leaving her would-be lover disappointed.
The commercial was aired during a screening of the cartoon Ice Age 2, which has been a hit with families. A woman viewer complained that it was not suitable to be shown during a children’s film because it was overtly sexual.
Chanel rejected the claim and said its founder, Coco Chanel, was known for being a strong, independent woman and the character in the ad was intended to reflect her spirit.
The perfume giant pointed out that there was no nudity in the ad and that the character only briefly revealed her shoulders as part of a photo shoot.
They said the photographer helped Keira Knightley remove her boots, rather than her clothes, as part of a wardrobe change during the photo shoot.
Chanel said while a degree of sexual tension was common in perfume ads, this particular commercial was “playful and sensual”.
However, the ASA sided with the complainant arguing the scenes involved “sexually suggestive content”.
The ASA said: “We noted that the photographer was directly involved in unzipping the actress’s garments and that there was a suggestion that she was naked aside from a bed sheet.
“We also noted that there was clear sexual tension between the pair and that they appeared about to kiss on the bed.
“We considered the ad was suitable for older children, but that the sexually suggestive material was unsuitable for young children.”