The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has refused to ban a racy Agent Provocateur lingerie ad on the grounds that it ‘was unlikely to cause fear or distress without justifiable reason.’
A single complainant called for the ban, which has reportedly been viewed 450,000 times, stating it was ‘disturbing and misogynistic.’
The ‘Les Fleurs du Mal’ film clip, directed by Justin Andersen, was created in support of the online launch of Agent Provocateur’s new Soiree 2011-2012 collection.
It features a woman in a nightgown in her home. She answers the telephone before several women, who are wearing revealing lingerie with stockings and long boots, appear at the window.
The women are shown dragging the other woman through the house and adopting a series of poses, some extremely erotic, alone and with the other women.
The group of women then appear to sexually attack the woman’s body, which then appears to transform into a zombie or vampire-like figure, wearing similar revealing lingerie to the group.
Agent Provocateur claimed that the film was a unique take on the horror genre with a ‘signature Agent Provocateur sensibility and eroticism’.
It added that one of the gowns in the collection reminded the film’s director of the type of gown that was worn by ‘victims’ in classic 1950s Hammer horror films, a style which ‘suited Agent Provocateur perfectly’ because in the past horror was the only way of showing sex in a film. Sex and horror had always been woven together but, it understood, had never been parodied in a film for a fashion label.
The ASA statement read: “We acknowledged some viewers might find some of the scenes distasteful, but considered the highly stylised nature and clearly fictional content of the video meant it was unlikely to be interpreted by most viewers in the way the complainant suggested.
“We considered the ads did not demean women and were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence to visitors to the Agent Provocateur website. We also considered the ad was unlikely to cause fear or distress without justifiable reason.”
View the ‘Les Fleurs du Mal’ film clip below: