The British advertising regulatory body has ruled the campaign for pop singer Rihanna’s fragrance, Rogue as 'provocative' and 'sexually suggestive' and has taken steps to restrict where the ad can appear in the UK.
The issue lies with a poster for the perfume, which was displayed on the doors of a lift in a shopping centre depicting a scantily clad Rihanna sitting on a floor with her head and shoulders leaning against a wall with her legs raised against a large bottle of perfume.
The ASA received the complaint in the form of two issues, one challenged whether the ad was offensive because it was overly sexual and demeaning to women; and the second suggested the ad featured a sexualised and provocative image, which was inappropriate for children to see.
On looking into the matter, the regulatory body ruled the first issue as not upheld but agreed with the second and has therefore placed restrictions on where the advertisement can appear in the UK, such as public areas.
Fragrance maker convinces ASA the ad reflects Rihanna’s 'courage to challenge boundaries'
On being contacted by the ASA the maker of the fragrance, Parlux said it had not received complaints in the UK or elsewhere and that the ad sought to capture the persona of Rihanna, known for her provocative image, without featuring improper nudity or demeaning imagery.
Furthermore the company believed that the majority of women would not consider the portrayal of Rihanna to be demeaning, but rather depicted as being in a position of power, as indicated by the name "ROGUE", which suggested one with the courage to challenge boundaries.
On considering these points and carrying out its own research, the regulatory body ruled that whilst Rihanna appeared to be naked in the image and one of her buttocks was visible, she was presented in such a way that she was mainly covered, and the image was not overtly sexual.
"We noted that Rihanna's facial expression was one of defiance rather than vulnerability and considered that the overall impression of her created by the ad was one of confidence and concluded that the ad was unlikely to be demeaning to women or to cause serious or widespread offence."
The issue of being inappropriate for children was upheld however...
In regards to the complaint that the ad was not appropriate for children, the ASA found that the ad had appeared in a number of places where it was likely to be seen by children and while it did not consider the image to be overtly sexual, Rihanna's pose, with her legs raised in the air, was provocative.
"Because of this, and the fact that Rihanna appeared to be naked except for high heels, we concluded that the ad was sexually suggestive and should have been given a placement restriction to reduce the possibility of it being seen by children."