A regulator in Australia banned an Ella Bache skincare ad because it believes the naked models' unsmiling faces were too arousing. That forced the Parisian company to produce a version with smiles.
In the rejected version, the women snuggle together with their hands strategically placed on their breasts, accompanied by the slogan "Skin Solutions As Individual As You Are."
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The Outdoor Media Association, an agency that monitors billboard advertising in the country, wasn't about to let the straight-faced approach dot the landscape, saying, "serious facial expressions increased the sexual overtones of the image," according to Campaign Brief.
One of Ella Bache's reps wasn't smiling at Outdoor Media's verdict to reject the original.
"This bizarre decision is the epitome of political correctness, indicating that as a society we are becoming very fearful of putting a foot wrong, with the result that stymies creative thinking," said Faie Davis, Ella Bache's creative director, according to several outlets.
Charmaine Moldrich, chief executive of Outdoor Media Australia, defended barring the straight-faced ad, telling The Australian that the serious looks reflected less female empowerment than happy faces. The unsmiling Ella Bache image "could be interpreted as being sexualized and saying 'look at me in my nudity,'" said Moldrich.
The re-done campaign for the French firm will run across Australia. With smiles all around, of course.