They said/We said: Oh Lola! Dakota Fanning’s questionably inappropriate ad for Marc Jacobs’ new fragrance is banned in the UK

Marc Jacobs’ new fragrance Oh, Lola!, described by the designer as the more sensual sister to Lola, his previous bestselling scent, is proving to live up to its Lolita namesake.

The ad for the fragrance, which features teenage It girl Dakota Fanning and was photographed by Juergen Teller, has been banned in the UK. The British Advertising Standards Authority claims they received complaints that the ad is sexualizing children since Fanning is seen holding the bottle between her legs while wearing a short skirt. Coty, the company that produces the fragrance disagrees with the BSA’s rulings, arguing that the ad isn’t indecent since it doesn’t show “any private body parts or sexual activity.” They also point out that the fragrance’s target audience (people age 25 and over) wouldn’t find the image offensive since it appears alongside similar images in “highly stylized fashion magazines.”

On the other hand, Jacobs may possibly consider the ad a success, since he picked Fanning to star in the campaign because he thought she could be a contemporary Lolita—seductive, yet sweet.


British Advertising Standards Authority: “We noted that the model was holding up the perfume bottle which rested in her lap between her legs and we considered that its position was sexually provocative. We understood the model was 17 years old but we considered she looked under the age of 16. We considered that the length of her dress, her leg and position of the perfume bottle drew attention to her sexuality. Because of that, along with her appearance, we considered the ad could be seen to sexualize a child.” [Telegraph UK]

Jo Swinson, British Parliament Member: “It’s frankly shocking that any advertiser can think it appropriate to try to create an image of a ‘contemporary Lolita’ to sell its products.  There is huge parental concern about the over-sexualization of children.” [The Daily Mail UK]

Fashionista: “Coty, which makes the perfume, disagreed with the ASA’s ruling, calling the Juergen Teller–lensed ad “provoking, but not indecent.” [Fashionista]


Paige Dzenis, associate online editor: “Nothing like a ban to make even more people take notice of the ad than ever before, right?”

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