French Connection returns to TV and cinema with sex and violence creative

LONDON – French Connection is launching its first TV and cinema push for two years with a controversial creative featuring a violent martial arts fight between two women who end up kissing, which is likely to face a pre-watershed or outright ban.

The spot breaks next week to coincide with London Fashion Week and is part of a £2m campaign by Beattie McGuinness Bungay for its spring and summer collection that includes in-store, press and outdoor activity.

Under the slogan "fashion versus style", the creative for the TV and cinema spot features two women fighting, one representing fashion, the other style.

The spot is directed in the style of recent martial arts movie successes such as 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' and 'Kill Bill', and includes the heavy use of violence as kicks, punches and elbows are thrown, as well as a lesbian kiss, likely to raise eyebrows as well as many complaints.

The ad features the two women getting covered in liquid, ripping off clothes before concluding with a kiss followed by a final violent headbutt.

The spot also uses Italian opera as backing music and has been directed by David Bowie's son Duncan Jones.

This is the second major push by French Connection since it dropped its FCUK brand from advertising, amid criticism that it was a tired concept. FCUK will continue to be used in-store and on clothing.

French Connection is no stranger to controversy with its FCUK slogan attracting numerous complaints over the years, in particular for being used in outdoor advertising. This led to the Advertising Standards Authority slapping a pre-vetting order on the company, meaning its posters must be cleared before they are allowed to run.

The media agency for the campaign is Manning Gottlieb OMD, with media planning by Sarah Thompson.

Other credits include Trevor Beattie and Jones handling copywriting, art direction by Bil Bungay, production by Stuart Fenegan and editing by Barrett Heathcote @ Barrett Editing.

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