August 31, 2019

Somewhere, some marketing geniuses thought putting Johnny Depp out in a western landscape with background images of Native Americans to hawk a brand of men's perfume was a good idea. And maybe it was, if you ignore the blatant cultural appropriation. But then the sticky name of the perfume itself came up, Sauvage, and people were not amused.

The ad was pulled from social media, and it likely won't be aired here after the swift backlash, but you can view it above.

Source: Washington Post

The ad seemed like something that would be unlikely to be approved in the turbo-charged era of race and social media in which we live.

But there it was, on French luxury fashion company Christian Dior’s Twitter feed, to sell a new perfume.

“An authentic journey deep into the Native American soul in a sacred, founding and secular territory,” it said. “More to come.”

The text was paired with an image of a Native American dancing on a Western bluff as the sun set behind him. The perfume’s name? Sauvage, or savage in English, a racial stereotype with a long history of use against Native Americans, including in advertisements.

The ad touched off a quick reaction on social media, with many accusing the company of deploying an insensitive depiction of Native Americans to sell its wares. The description for the perfume, a classic Dior fragrance that has been remade, says it exudes “warm oriental tones and wild beauty that comes to life on the skin.”

“The fragrance of a new frontier: an interpretation with a rich, heady trail that celebrates the magic of wide-open spaces.”

The company pulled the ad from Twitter after wide backlash.

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