Thursday, 4 August 2011

Fashion Brands and their Controversial Advertising - It's all about SEX !!!

Fashion brands has always believed that if there is anything that can give them overnight publicity and enough promotion in a short span of time then it is through - controversies ,often taking the "Adult Content" route because SEX SELLS. 

Be it print or digital media, the advertising campaigns of these brands are obscene and so strong that it  has offended many and has invited enough criticism from across the globe and some were even banned in few countries. I bring you 10 such fashion brands whose advertising strategies are based on nudity/obscenity/sex (majority of them Italian) and their outrageous advertising campaigns of all time which generated a lot of heat in the media as well as in the social circles. Some of them are so outrageous that they can give competition to a porn website. Take a look - 


This American hot shot designer who was also the creative director of Louis Vuitton posed nude and covered his essentials just by an oversize perfume bottle in the ad campaign of his Men's fragrance brand "Bang" shot by Juergen Teller and in the other shot , the fragrance bottle is placed in such a way that  it reflects a shadow depicting a man's private part. I guess , the first pic doesn't need any explanation of it's sexual innuendos.


Popularly known as UCB, their advertising campaigns are solely based on the concept of bringing the different races together especially the Blacks and the Whites and for this their ads always land in trouble as they go out of the way to do that. UCB here, tried to do different except of landing into controversy .  Shown here are  its ad campaigns in which nothing but a bunch of multi color condoms are featured and the fun part is that they don't retail condoms ! These ads were banned in UK !

In an another ad , it shows a black horse mounting a white horse as if they are trying to have sex. Trust me, it offended many "white" people and was banned in UK!


GUCCI is an iconic Italian luxury label. During the reign of  Tom Ford, GUCCI's face and fate both changed for better. The first ad is really simple but sometime simple things too can be dangerous and it simply invited the critics. It was banned in UK.

The second ad  features model Carmen Kass lowering her underwear and showing shaved pubic hair forming GUCCI's  initials "G" to the guy. The ad went public in 2003 and it really created a lot of fuss and was criticized a lot and was banned in UK but Gucci got lucky from getting it banned in Italy and other places by saying “intended to be the ultimate ironic pun for a sexy brand in a logo-led age.”Yeah it is a logo-led age but I really want to know what impact it would have on  sweet and innocent kids !


Another iconic Italian luxury label - Dolce & Gabbana. Dolce & Gabbana label is known for their sensual and sexual aesthetics .    The first ad is quite old but it also made a lot of news on the grounds of homo-sexual innuendos. 

The second  ad is not far behind ! The campaign shows a nude man is lying on the ground as if he is having extreme pleasure in being watched closely by two other men and the third one is stripping or wearing his pants as if he was or going to involve in some kinda act with that nude guy. Now what conclusion anybody would draw from this ad ?? Dolce and Gabbana for Gay ?? I don't know ! Enlighten me please..It was banned in Italy.

This ad campaign where a girl is pinned down by a shirtless guy and few others watching them went in public in 2007 and soon it was banned in Italy as it was criticized for depicting a  modified version of  submissive "gang-rape"


Calvin Klein, known as CK, is an American fashion brand founded by Calvin Klein in 1968 and is very popular for denims and under garments.
This ad was banned in Australia for "suggestive  violence and rape". It's quite similar to Dolce & Gabbana's ad. Isn't it ? 

Shown below is the ad on a billboard  where a girl is licking the guy's ass which created a lot of news and was criticized for being put in public like this. 

In the year 2008, a video of  Spring 2009  ad campaign (see the snapshot below) was pulled out from  CK's website as it ran into the controversy for showing much of adult content. It was put back only after editing those explicit sex scenes.
CK has a history with such banned commercials but they really don't care ! 



DIESEL is a world famous luxury Italian Denim wear brand known for its innovative style and very strong brand characteristics. Like the brand its ad campaigns are always very strong. Sometimes so strong that they have to be banned !!
Shown here is an ad campaign which was launched in 2006 and then was banned because the ad was considered much obscene for the modest public as it shows group sex act.

Diesel - Only the brave ! Yes, only a brave brand can afford such kind of ad campaign which is ready to land in a controversy even before it is released ! So It was Banned  because the modest public were not that brave to digest it !!! 

Diesel like CK, never bothers and doesn't care about the vulgarity in their ads . Their last ad campaign of "Smart and Stupid " did make every head turn as it took a very different route by showing the world that it's better to be a stupid than being a smart. Their ads were as stupid and senseless as their tag !! Much of the editions of this ad campaign was banned at different places making Diesel look like a stupid !! 
Look at the below ad and tell me who does that ?? Not even a stupid would do such a thing !!


Sisley is a Benetton (UCB) group brand. Their advertising campaigns has always been very vulgar ,outrageous and suggested lot of obscenity and so most of their ads get axed. Here are a few ads of Sisley which were banned straightaway.



Shown below is the YSL ad campaign featuring a fully dressed up Kate Moss sitting with two nude men. The ad campaign was criticized for its sexual innuendo and was strongly protested by women and was banned in Canada.

Yves St. Laurent, the great French designer once posed nude (see the second pic below) so to promote the brand's M7 fragrance, the ad campaign featured "YSL's nude act" performed by a male model which was met by harsh criticism and the ad was pulled out immediately.

In an another old ad of YSL where Sophie Dahl has posed nude for the brand got axed too for suggesting obscenity and nudity 


TOM FORD, the man behind GUCCI's success loves relating everything to sex. First it was at GUCCI and now with his own label. Below are his ads which were banned in Italy (eye wear ad), Singapore (fragrance) and at other places for its vulgarity and because the "scene evoked an offending and abusive act against women"


American Apparel can certainly give a hard time to the porn websites when it comes to advertising. In the history of fashion if there is any brand who has run into maximum number of  controversies for vulgarity and adult content then it is no one other than American Apparel ! The brand is accused of promoting rape, obscenity, vulgarity and what not through its pornographic ad campaigns. Shown below are some of the many ads which got banned.

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  1. Hi Pritu, Just wanted to tell you, the Tom Ford ad ...a male and a female playing with soap is not banned I guess because I just saw it at Duomo in Milan few weeks back. Check it out.


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