Dior, Depp, and ‘Sauvage’

The Dior “Sauvage” campaign was launched early summer of 2019, featuring actor Johnny Depp. The fragrance by Dior sparked mixed emotions from the Indigenous community. The ad featured Johnny Depp strumming a guitar in the desert interspersed with footage of a men’s Fancy dancer.

The Indian Leader spoke to Haskell Indian Nations University students and asked their thoughts about the campaign. Dominique Brown, a freshman, said, “I feel like the product they were marketing and the ad they released were completely different from one another… They should bring in actual dancers and Native people from the communities to see how they feel about it before they released the ad.” she continued, “I feel like when they use Native Americans in their ads, it’s like why are you using us when your brand has never marketed to our community before.” another student added, “ I feel like it was honestly a little racist, because why would you use Native Americans to market the product ‘Sauvage’ when that typically has a negative connotation, I am just confused at what they were trying to accomplish.”

Depp himself responded to the wider criticism of the ad saying he felt like it wasn’t meant to harm anyone or to disrespect any community. After negative backlash to the campaign, Dior decided to pull the ad. The ‘Sauvage’ campaign is the most recent example of an issue that Indigenous people have been talking about for years, namely companies using pieces of various Indigenous cultures to market and sell their products

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