To Ban or Not to Ban: Is Dakota Ad a Bit Too Lolita?

Where Marc Jacobs saw chic, the ASA saw smut.

The U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority has banned a print ad for Marc Jacobs’ “Oh, Lola” fragrance (we’ll get to the name later) featuring Dakota Fanning in a “sexually provocative” position with the bottle between her legs.

Fanning, who became famous as a child actress, is in a short pink dress, styled to look much younger than her 17 years. It’s hard to argue the nod to the heroine of Vladmir Nabokov’s famously controversial novel about a middle-aged man’s obsession with a 12-year old girl — and the likeness to actress Dominique Swain, who portrayed the character on film.

The ASA said the ad sexualizes children, despite Fanning’s age, considering the “length of her dress, her leg and the position of the perfume bottle.” The ban will keep the ad from being printed in any magazine in the U.K. again.

The fragrance’s manufacturer, Coty U.K., told the ASA it had received no complaints at all, and while the placement of the bottle is provocative, it is not indecent. ES Magazine and the Sunday Times Style Magazine, where the ad ran, also heard nothing.

What do you think? Is the ASA’s ruling appropriate, considering the name of the perfume and how Fanning looks in the ad? Or is it a reach — the product of overtly suggestive minds over at the ASA?

Shareen Pathak of Ad Age