LVMH and the case of the over romanced handbag

One thing I’ve learned during my 1,000 years spent in the trenches of advertising is there’s a fine line between romancing the product and bullshit.

LVMH got busted crossing their little toe over that line last week when the U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority banned two Louis Vuitton print ads on the basis that they misled consumers into thinking its products are made by hand.  Their handbags are almost entirely sewn by machine.  In the offending ads, female artisans (one of whom looks suspiciously like Natalie Portman) fold the leather of a wallet and hand-stitch the handle of a handbag in gorgeous Vermeer-lit photographs. I actually like these ads a lot, despite the arduous copy.  “What secret little gestures do our craftsmen discreetly pass on?"  "Let's allow these mysteries to hang in the air”.  (Somebody, call my fabulous English agent and quick!) Telling a heritage story is a smart strategic way to add real value to a $5G handbag in these (almost) post recessionary times.  If they’d considered a discreet disclaimer, they could’ve gotten away with it.  Something like:

Objects in this ad appear much more hand made than they actually are