I mean, I’m assuming. There’s already a Twitter freakout brewing at them for their new Native-American-themed ad campaign. Figure we’ll reach peak outrage by the end of the holiday weekend.
A new ad campaign from LVMH-owned Parfums Christian Dior is being widely criticized on social media for profiting off Native American cultural imagery.
The campaign for Dior’s “Sauvage” fragrance is called “We are the Land” and features Johnny Depp, who the brand has worked with in the past. A tweet from the brand called the campaign “An authentic journey deep into the Native American soul in a sacred, founding and secular territory.”
Is it the ad that’s “problematic” or the name of the product? They could have gotten away with a generic spot involving Native Americans. They would have been accused of “cultural appropriation” no matter what but they might have replied as the Washington Redskins often do that they’re honoring the culture, not denigrating it. Sure, it’s stereotypical to use a native ceremonial dance to symbolize spiritual liberation and communion with nature but Dior actually lined up some Native American consultants for this spot and they signed off on it. It’s not cultural appropriation, it’s cultural celebration.
… Except for the name. The perfume in this case is called “Sauvage,” a.k.a. “Savage.” The oldest and nastiest stereotype under the sun for Native Americans.
Gotta say, I’m not looking forward to the ads for their new fragrance, “Rootless Cosmopolitan.”
Here’s the spot. Nothing says “authentic Native American soul” like Johnny Depp shredding on a guitar while a dude in full feather headdress twirls about.
This isn’t the first time Dior has caught flak for casting an American star in an ad that otherwise draws heavily from a foreign culture, notes The Week. What’s interesting is that they saw the controversy coming and took action to preempt critics who might accuse them of insensitivity. Watch the clip below, which was uploaded to their corporate YouTube account a week ago, in which some of the Native American advisors involved in the project talk about making sure that it was respectful. Dior must have been really wedded to the idea of a Native American theme for its new “Sauvage” campaign to go ahead with it knowing the sort of backlash it would invite.
Unless the backlash was the point. How often do we write about perfume here, after all? Yet we’re writing about Dior today. Probably the company figured they could leverage the controversy for media exposure without doing any harm to their brand so long as they had some Native American consultants willing to vouch for them out of the gate. The ad may have been designed to provoke the woke brigades for publicity while the clip below was generated to give the company plausible deniability about its intentions. Presumably the next ad will involve a Native American warrior firing an arrow at a Trump lookalike in hopes that it’ll be the right that freaks out in that case. Dior, you clever — and cynical — bastards.