Dior 'Sauvage' perfume ad campaign with Johnny Depp criticized for appropriating Native American culture

Key Points
  • A new campaign for Parfums Christian Dior is being criticized for cultural appropriation.
  • The "We are the Land" campaign for a perfume called "Sauvage" features Johnny Depp.
  • The campaign is drawing extensive backlash on social media, with users saying it is racist and it appropriates Native American culture.
Johnny Depp in Sauvage video ad
Source: Sauvage

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."

The brand also faced backlash three years ago during another campaign with Depp for "Sauvage" after the actor was accused of domestic violence by ex-wife Amber Heard.

After Dior started posting sneak preview videos and photos ahead of a film set to be released on Sept. 1, the company began receiving criticism on Twitter and Facebook-owned Instagram calling the content offensive and racist.

Asked for comment by CNBC, Dior sent a press release from a nonprofit called the Americans for Indian Opportunity, which refers to itself as a group that advocates for the rights of Indigenous peoples. The group said it collaborated with Dior on the "We are the Land" campaign, music video director Jean-Baptiste Mondino and Depp to provide advice on "authentic inclusion of Native American images in the film promoting Depp's signature parfum." The release also said the group had made Depp an honorary citizen of the Comanche Nation in 2012.

A photo from Dior's Instagram page.
Megan Graham

"There was need for authenticity and respect for the land and the nations that allowed us to shoot there. From the choice of location, wardrobe making, right down to casting and set design, AIO was involved," Depp said in the release.

Dior did not provide a statement responding to the criticism of the campaign.

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