The television campaign for the perfume Coco Mademoiselle showed Knightley being photographed on a bed and the photographer unzipping her clothes before she was shown dressed only in a bed sheet and crawling towards him before lying back.
The ad was cleared without a scheduling restriction but a viewer, who saw it during the children’s film Ice Age 2, complained that it was unsuitable for screening during the movie because it was overtly sexual.
Chanel said the advert appeared during the day, and Ice Age 2 was chosen because it included sharp humour and involved recognised celebrities as voice actors which gave it an appeal to adults.
The company said a degree of sexual charge was common in perfume ads, but while Knightley’s character was playful and sensual she was not overtly sexual.
However, the Advertising Standards Authority ruled that the ad involved sexually suggestive content, noting that Ice Age 2 was of particular appeal to children.
It believed the ad was not unsuitable for children and that it was therefore scheduled appropriately. “We considered the ad was suitable for older children, but that the sexually suggestive material was unsuitable for young children.”