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07 Jun

Christian Dior slammed for running Johnny Depp Sauvage campaign in Australia

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Commuters walk past the Dior Sauvage advertisement featuring Johnny Depp outside David Jones’ Sydney CBD store. Photo: Dominic LorrimerChristian Dior is under fire in Australia for an advertising campaign fronted by Johnny Depp.

Billboards, store fronts and bus stops around Sydney and Melbourne are covered in images of Depp emblazoned with the word “Sauvage”, a French term meaning “wild”.

The Pirates of the Caribbean star was announced as the face of Sauvage last year, Dior’s first fragrance for men in 10 years.

The renewed push of the Sauvage campaign comes just days after Depp and Amber Heard settled their contentious divorce amid allegations of domestic violence. Heard claimed Depp repeatedly abused her during their 18-month marriage, before withdrawing the claims.

They reached a $9 million agreement, funds that Heard has since donated to the  American Civil Liberties Union to helps its efforts in combating violence against women.

Dior’s ongoing relationship with Depp has angered Australian consumers and “a couple of complaints” about the Sauvage ad have been submitted to the Advertising Standard Bureau, ASB chief Fiona Jolly said.

Ms Jolly wouldn’t specify the exact nature of the compliants, saying: “They centre around the use of the actor in the advertisements.”

A Dior representative refused to comment when approached by Fairfax Media about the commercial’s timing.

“Parfums Christian Dior does not wish to comment on the personal matters of Ms Heard and Mr Depp. It is our understanding that the matter has been settled,” a Dior spokesperson said.

David Jones has featured the commercial outside its menswear store on Market Street.

“These are part of a national campaign Dior launched this week for its men’s fragrance Sauvage,” a David Jones spokesperson said on Friday.

The advertisement was also published in the latest issue of the AFR magazine, owned by Fairfax Media, publisher of The Sun-Herald.

Dr Andrew Hughes, lecturer in marketing at the Australian National University’s Research School of Management, criticised the continued use of Depp in the campaign, saying: “It looks cheap. It looks like they don’t care about the market. With this advertisement Dior are essentially saying ‘I’m out of touch’. We live in the age of social media where recall is only one click away so even people who aren’t aware of the claims would be able to find out what they are.”

Heard filed for divorce in May before obtaining a restraining order accusing Depp of hitting her, sparking a media frenzy and extensive, worldwide coverage.

Heard withdrew the claims after a video of Depp yelling at her and images of a mirror allegedly covered in Depp’s blood after he cut off the tip of his finger during a domestic dispute, were made public.

After their settlement, Depp and Heard released a joint statement acknowledging the volatility of their relationship.

“Our relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love … There was never any intent of physical or emotional harm,” the statement said.

The only positive to the Dior campaign, according to Dr Hughes, is that the issue of domestic violence is back in the headlines. “It’s relevant now around Father’s Day and with specific messages to men about how certain actions can have a huge negative impact.”

This isn’t the first international controversy Dior has faced.

In 2011, following a racist and anti-Semitic tirade that was filmed, creative director John Galliano was stood down after the fashion house faced international condemnation.

Family Violence Counselling Service 1800 RESPECT: 1800 737 732; Men’s Referral Service: 1300 766 491

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