Risque French Smoking Campaign

French Ad Campaign - Shock the smoking out of you

Yesterday the New York Times published an article about a recent campaign aimed to get youth to stop smoking, created by French advertisement agency – BDDP & Fils.

The ad features a side shot of a torso belonging to an older man who is pushing down the head of a young teenage girl with a cigarette in her mouth. The cigarette is positioned crudely at the man’s crotch.

Marco de la Fuente – vice president of BDDP & Fils stated that the campaign was designed to show that smoking is “flirt[ing] with danger” and is an act of “submission.”

Call it shock advertising, but this ad seems to walk a fine line between an oral sex innuendo and smoking?

While we are all pretty used to seeing sexy women next to cars, and magazine pages filled with half naked women to promote fashion brands, this perhaps is taking the concept of “sex sells” too far.

The campaign is already drawing some negative remarks. Feminist groups state that the ads “trivializes sexual abuse” and “implies guilt on the part of the abused.” And, Florence Montreynaud, the president of La Meute des Chiennes de Garde (the Pack of Female Watchdogs), declared that, “It’s a poverty of imagination. When people have no ideas, they use female bodies.”

What’s pretty interesting is that I’ve witnessed this first hand in my travels abroad in Europe, where, especially in the Eastern countries, objectifying women and subjecting them as sexual objects in advertising is not new and perfectly normal.

While we can look at these sort of ad campaigns and start accusing Europeans of being sexist pigs, we have to remember to take a step back and look at these things through a cultural lens.

Maybe the French are okay with it…who knows, it does makes you wonder, will this risqué campaign be effective?

  1. melicieuse says:

    actually, there is nothing sexist about these ads, it was a series of 3 similar images, 2 of which were of teenage boys and only 1 of a teenage girl so really I think they can safely escape the sexist stigma.
    What’s shocking is the connotation of a sexual act with a teenager that looks well under age for sexual consent.
    will it work in reducing smoking in the 12/25 age group or at least halt the growth of it….I am not sure

  2. Apparently, they did this bc they wanted to generate buzz and get ppl to start talking about the issue.
    I think it def does a good job of getting ppl talking, I just don’t know if they’re all talking about the same thing.

  3. melicieuse says:

    if buzz they wanted, buzz they got. will we still be talking about it in a few weeks….not sure

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