H&M, Burberry and Chanel Respond to Drug Scandal

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NEW YORK ( -- In the wake of a British tabloid photo in which supermodel Kate Moss was shown snorting cocaine, fashion retailer H&M as well as luxury marketers Burberry and Chanel have all opted out of their contracts to feature Ms. Moss in their ads.
Photo: AP
Supermodel Kate Moss is being dropped from ads by three major marketers.

Despite initially stating that they would go on to use Kate Moss in an ad campaign for a new Stella McCartney line following the scandal, H&M yesterday said that on further inspection doing so “is not consistent with H&M’s clear disassociation with drugs.”

Face of Chanel
Burberry today likewise offered that it would be “inappropriate” to feature Ms. Moss in a planned campaign this fall as a result of the photos and her subsequent admission of drug use. Chanel, for which Ms. Moss has been the face of its Coco Mademoiselle perfume since 2002, said it would continue featuring Ms. Moss in ads through the end of her contract, which expires in October, and will not renew her as spokesmodel. A Chanel spokeswoman said the decision was not based on the news reports.

Andrew Sacks, president of luxury agency AgencySacks, noted that the inherent dangers of linking with celebrities -- to wit Ms. Moss -- has kept his agency from suggesting the tactic to clients. “Our clients have very long brand histories and wonderful heritages and that is a lot to stake on someone that you ultimately don’t know that well.”

'Not so wonderful behavior
Mr. Sacks noted that the fashion world indeed has had more latitude, because “not-so-wonderful behavior by models is nothing new,” but certainly someone doing cocaine is not part of the rich heritage of long-standing brands such as Burberry and Chanel.

Margot Lewis, principal of creative services marketing agency Mmedia, noted that when "brands are signing celebrities to multimillion [dollar] brand contracts, celebrities should be on their best behavior, but it’s risky. If you get someone who’s trouble, it can backfire and at that point it’s not easy to disassociate your brand from the celebrity, because you’ve already created the connection in the eyes of the general public.”

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