Fashion brand Dior released a video advertisement Friday morning for its cologne, Sauvage, featuring a Native American dancer in ceremonial garb, including a feathered headdress. The combination of the imagery and the name of the cologne, prompted many on social media to interpret the ad as racist and emblematic of cultural appropriation.
— Read more at Dior accused of racism, cultural appropriation for new 'Sauvage' cologne ad at NBC News, or see Dior perfume ad featuring Johnny Depp criticized over Native American tropes at The Guardian, or use Google — you'll have plenty of choice. If you missed the ad when I posted it yesterday, you're too late because they'd taken it down by the afternoon (although if you look around online you can find clips of the teaser).
And adding the first comment: there are already heated arguments online about whether this is racist or whether people are being overly PC. We can’t really discuss this here since we’re not allowed to talk politics, so please don’t discuss that aspect of it.
And a quote from Quartz:
What makes the situation complicated is that Dior did try to read the room. The clip is a brief piece of a longer ad Dior created to promote the new parfum joining its Sauvage line. To make it, Dior worked with an advocacy organization for indigenous peoples called Americans for Indian Opportunity. The collaboration highlights how tricky it’s become for brands to use cultures that aren’t their own to sell products, even in cases where it involves people from those cultures directly.
Just confused as to why this content was posted here, since we are not allowed to comment on it?
Well first, passing on news. I would do that even if I closed the comments to begin with.
But second, you can comment on it. You can talk generally about cultural appropriation in perfume ads, or really all sorts of things. I for one am interested in whether or not this is an anomaly or whether perfume companies are going to have to start being much more careful about perfumes they are trying to sell as “exotic”. I was thinking, for instance, of Guerlain’s last big Shalimar push, and whether that would pass muster today, or whether this is just a particular confluence of things (the name Sauvage, plus Johnny Depp’s personal troubles AND the fact that some were already unhappy that he had played Tonto -> then add the use of Native Americans to sell product.)
What I didn’t want to see is readers arguing with each other about whether or not this is racist…the whole point of the comment policy is to keep the peace here.
I was thinking the same thing, commenting. The fact that Dior went to such effort to consult with an advocacy group, they (Dior) must have know this was going to cause some controversy. Just to sell a fragrance? Maybe companies should just use the natural world to push their products, and get rid of the “face“. Lots of companies don’t have a spokesmodel – Le Labo, Kilian (only his face)…
It’s a question whether or not Dior can push the amount of product they want to push (way more than Le Labo or Kilian) without a big name face, but yeah — if you find yourself consulting an advocacy group to make sure you aren’t stepping on any toes, maybe you should just pick another theme for your commercial.
Just knowing that Depp has been criticized by a number of Native American groups (not all, but some) for various cultural appropriation issues, going back years now, you’d think that would be enough to say let’s not chance it even before you got to the advocacy group stage.
Robin I was thinking those same thoughts. Remember that song, “Things that make you go uhmm” ? ?
What I am wondering is what prompted Dior to go this route in the first place. They had to have known how tricky it is to do this sort of thing nowadays (even working with the advocacy group).
It is very curious — and this was a hugely expensive mistake; it will cost them far more than just the cost of the commercial. As of this afternoon, people are bringing up Galliano again, both the comments that got him fired and the fact that he appropriated Native American designs (and used actual Native Americans as “props” next to models on the runway).
When I first saw the ad yesterday morning, I thought it was a bad idea, but I did not even think through the use of the French word “Sauvage” and how awful that would play here.
All the glowing articles I read yesterday morning about this campaign also seem to have disappeared.
Between #MeToo and cultural issues, fragrance companies are going to need to step much more carefully.
“No comment.” ?
LOL — yeah, exactly.
I noticed they used Link Wray’s famous song Rumble as the theme music. Link’s heritage is Shawnee.
Yes…Johnny Depp talked about that briefly in the “making of” video, which you can’t see now.
I actually saw this ad on Canadian television a few nights ago before it was pulled, then saw the clips posted here on NST yesterday. There was also a story on CBC’s newscast, ‘The National’ last night about the Dior campaign. The ad’s choice in music, Link Wray’s “Rumble” is from 1958. Wray was a guitar player of Native American descent. This song was the title and introduction to a great 2017 documentary called “Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World”. If the choice of this tune moves people to find out who it is playing and maybe watch the film and learn some history about this subject, that would be a positive.
Thanks, added to my watchlist! (It’s free with Amazon Prime, if anyone else is interested.)
I guess Dior should have kept it simple..sex sells..just make an ad of Johnny alone with his guitar..by a campfire I guess, showing as much of his skin as they can get away with..cheaper to make too. Or Johnny Depp as naked as possible/being body painted/being near a campfire/celebrating at Burning Man..as BM is this week..would have been fitting.
Haha sex does sell – like the ‘good old days’ when Tom Ford could shave a logo into a models pubic hair in an ad, or place perfume bottles in various intimate crevices for print ads & no-one even thought of banning it – don’t think anyone would get away with those these days ??
Actually didn’t he also use a full frontal male nude for the ad for M7 ?
I guess he did..lol..think it was banned though, not sure. I still have yet to smell M7. Sauvage ads have been about frolicking in the desert and such as is Burning Man lol..and with all the crazy and “wild” things that happen at Bman..it’s not banned…again, safer marketing choice. Not the wisest move on this ad…it’s not worked before, not sure why they thought it was gunna have a different outcome. It just says potential disaster to me. With all of the heat Dior has had..Galliano or the like…best to be lean on the side of caution..caution doesn’t seem like a word that fits with perfume ads..however..common sense is important.
I don’t see Chanel taking this kind of risk..one that was a bit of a disaster was Brad Pitt for Chanel No. 5, though a failure of an ad..it was still hilarious and entertaining. It got Chanel press..though I think a good deal negative..still press..without offending anyone…I think, lol.
Benetton probably has had some of the more controversial ads…but I believe has toned them down, idk.
I saw that ad here yesterday on NST before it was pulled and cringed. It struck me as incredibly tone deaf.
I didn’t click the video because I don’t care about Savauge. I clicked the Gabrielle Essence one 3 times though, lol.