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Dior Ad Campaign Draws Fire
Advocacy Group Objects to Addiction Is Hip Message

An advertising campaign for a new Christian Dior product has drawn criticism from a recovery advocacy group that says the ads send a message to young women that being addicted is hip. The following is an "Action Alert" news release from Susan Rook, former CNN news anchor, who is the director of communications and outreach for Faces and Voices of Recovery:

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Fashion designer Christian Dior has launched a massive ad campaign to market a new fragrance and makeup line called 'Dior Addict.' This outrageous marketing campaign:

  • exploits a brain disease;

  • trivializes the critical public health issue of alcohol and other drug addiction;

  • cheapens the hard work of recovery and

  • shows callous disregard for the feelings of parents who have lost a child to addiction.

Faces and Voices of Recovery is coordinating a diverse coalition to launch a protest called: Addiction is Not Fashionable. This initiative includes recovery advocates, parent groups, community coalitions, prevention and treatment providers, faith community, front-line health care providers, members of the fashion, media and entertainment industries and policy makers.

"As a parent who has lost my own precious daughter to addiction I am appalled that the world renowned company of Dior would use the word 'Addict' for their new line of perfume and cosmetics' says Sharon Smith, president, MOMSTELL. Smith went to the website and had this reaction, "I just cried. How can a company push pleasure, sensuality and energy in an add campaign called Admit it, and talk about getting "Higher" without the simplest of regards for the parents of this country who have watched a child get "Higher", "Admit it", and then become an "Addict" and die as a result. The word strikes fear in parents across this nation. In a time of corporate responsibility, Dior is being totally irresponsible in the choice of words in their new campaign."

Christian Dior Preying on Young Women

"They are institutional predators," says Maine Youth Advocate Marty O'Brien, "They are preying on young women to buy into the concept that addiction is hip." According to Richard Brown, MD, University of Wisconsin, "We must condemn the glamorization of addiction for profit. There would be a tremendous public outcry against attempts to profit from glamorizing other terrible diseases like stroke, cancer or AIDS."

Advocates working to prevent drug use among children and adolescents find Dior's glamorization of addiction particularly offensive. Sue Rusche, National Families in Action says, "Dior's campaign makes it virtually impossible for parents to teach children that drugs and alcohol can hurt them so badly its better not to start." We spend $200 million of our tax dollars on a media campaign to teach children not to use addictive drugs. How can Dior give the message that being an 'Addict' is 'bold, daring and totally sexy'?

"Since 1944, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence has been fighting the stigma attached to addiction and advocating for people in recovery," says Stacia Murphy, the organization's President. "Unfortunately, in one ill-conceived effort to be hip, sexy and cool -- and sell product -- the Dior campaign for Addict has made our job more difficult. Addicts -- the real ones -- do not always smell terrific, and those who have recovered have done so through hard work and difficult emotional and spiritual growth. Sadly, a perfume named 'Addict' can only cheapen their hard work and contribute to the stigma of addiction."

What You Can Do

Dior has been asked to pull the 'Addict' campaign and re-name the product. Consumer Affairs representative Veronica Post says the company 'appreciates our concern and feedback' and asks us to 'put it in writing.'

Simultaneous press conferences around the country on Monday October 21 announced the "Addiction is NOT Fashionable" campaign which will begin with a massive letter writing campaign and an even larger email protest. Media events are planned for: Washington DC, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul and other cities.

We need your help. To participate in the 'Addiction is not Fashionable' campaign please send this action alert to other people you know.

Send letters directly to the New York office of Dior:

Attention Veronica Post, Consumer Affairs
19 E. 57th Street
New York, NY 10022

Please fax a copy of your letter to Faces and Voices of Recovery 703-299-6768.

Or call 212-931-2200, the phone number for the Perfumes division.

Visit the website for the latest information including a sample protest letter, talking points and ideas from other advocates, email Susan Rook, or call 703-299-6760 for more information.

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