Pro Fur / anti faux fur ad ruled misleading
Two months ago we have reported to the Advertising Standards Authority of France ( Jury de déontologie publicitaire - JDP) the misleading and unfair nature of an advertising from the International fur federation published in VOGUE Paris last september ( n°990).
The ad named « natural wonder » claimed :
Sustainable and beautiful, ethical and exquisite. The magic of fur is irresistible.
Since time immemorial, people have adored fur—the most natural of fibers, renowned for its innate elegance, its warmth, and its grandeur.
Now, in the 21st century there is another vitally important reason that a younger generation is returning to the embrace of fur: a growing alarm about the earth we all share. The rising concern regarding the impact of plastics on our oceans and land, the toll that pollution is taking on our environment, makes our decisions about what we wear, how we consume, and how we live more important than ever.
In an era of fast fashion, when chemical-based fake fur products glut the market and languish in our landfills, a fur coat is the ultimate refutation of the buy-it-and-toss-it ethos. A beloved fur is often handed down from grandmother to mother to cool modern daughter—and if it is cheerfully remodeled along the way, so much the better! But then again, there is nothing quite like the first time you see your very own initials embroidered in the satin lining of your very own fur coat.
And when this treasured, resolutely earth-friendly item is finally ready to be discarded, it will completely biodegrade in a matter of months. But that may be decades in the future! In the meantime, the globally-conscious young woman, sensational in sable, mischievous in mink, fierce in fox—represents the epitome of responsible chic: an informed consumer intent on doing good while looking great.
With documented facts and arguments we have succeeded to convince the JDP that this ad was indeed strongly misleading for the readers and the eco-minded consumers.
We are pleased to announce that our complaints received a favorable verdict on all the points raised.
Real fur is not a natural product. As shown in the image used for the litigious ad, it requires the use of man-made dyes which are synthetic products.
The verdict rendered two weeks after our hearing leaves no doubt in regard to the misleading nature of both the text and the image of the advertising.
Among the most significant points raised by the JDP :
In regard to the biodegradability aspect of “real” fur promoted by the federation, the elements used to support this claim, based on a review of a scientific report provided by the federation, are not supported by the data. Indeed, only a modest fraction of the “real” furs used for the experiment did biodegrade (from 6,6% to 25,8%) significantly the “real” fur dyed with chemicals almost didn’t biodegrade. The claim is inconsistent.
The JDP highlighted that “real” furs are also dyed with chemicals and that the federation was not able to deny this fact during the hearing.
The image showcasing a woman in a fur coat wandering in a wheat-filled prairie was also said to be of a misleading nature. This came as a pleasant surprise since we only reported the text.
Regarding the simplistic connection created by the federation between faux fur and pollution of our oceans, the JDP considered it too general, not founded by facts, baseless and pointed the use of an unfair method.
“Real” fur means fake news
The delusional advertising is nothing but an awkward attempt to save the federation’s interest in trying to tarnish faux fur. It is pitiful for an industry to be left with no other choice than to campaign against a booming sector solely for the purpose of damage control.
However a blatant marketing use of ecology is not tolerable : the stakes are too high for the planet and for the animals. That is the reason why the smear campaign against faux fur is not working. That type of campaign is even producing a reverse effect : more designers are coming to us, encouraged by the anti faux fur campaign, to know more about our fabrics.
Fashion wants a healthy conversation
Two important questions arise : to what extent can a trade body pose as a whistleblower and affect the language of a non profit organization, when the only intention is to secure the business ?
And has the fur industry, whose core activity is a huge killing machine based on intensive farming and intensive use of man-made dyes, a legitimacy to give “responsibility lessons” to the fashion industry ?
Our goal was also to correct this abnormality and we therefore wholeheartedly applaud the verdict from the JDP which sends the right signal.
Oversimpliflying such a complex and nuanced topic as the environmental issues is not acceptable for today’s designers and consumers.
This ad, which has been published in 6 different editions of VOGUE (including US , Italia and Paris) will now be known as an obvious example of a “greenwashing” campaign.
(UPDATE : Attorney Jérémie Assous rep for the IFF asked for a revision of the decision. The JDP accepted to review the decision but maintained the final verdict for the points raised by Attorney Jérémie Assous were not justified.
Please find here our press release )
Ecology should never be used as a marketing tactic.