The fragrance ad included scenes that showed the actress Keira Knightley being photographed on a bed, with the photographer unzipping her clothes before she undressed herself, showing her shoulders and part of her back.
The actress was then shown dressed only in a bed sheet crawling towards the photographer who was about to kiss her when she put a finger to his lips and said "lock the door".
The Advertising Standard Authority in the UK received a complaint that the ad was broadcast at an unsuitable time and appeared during a screening of Ice Age 2; a film that appeals to children.
In response, Chanel said the ad had appeared during time slots throughout the day and Ice Age 2 was chosen in the knowledge that it was not only a cartoon but included sharp humour and involved recognised celebrities as voice actors; it therefore also had a clear appeal to adults.
The fragrance firm added that the same time slot on the channel on which the film was shown was known to have included a sitcom and a soap opera, both of which included adult themes and which it believed were likely to have a greater impact because they also included dialogue.
“There was no nudity in the ad, and none implied, but the character briefly revealed only her shoulders as part of a photo shoot, which was the setting for the ad,” said a Chanel statement.
“A degree of sexual charge [is] common in perfume ads but while the character was playful and sensual, she was not overtly sexual… the ad [is] in line with most viewers' expectations of perfume advertising.”
Chanel believes the ad is not unsuitable for children, and it was also approved for broadcast by Clearcast; although it noted that broadcasters could draw their own conclusions.
However, the advertising watchdog disagreed, and said that although the undressing in the ad took place in the context of a photo shoot, it nevertheless considered those scenes involved sexually suggestive content.
“We considered the ad was suitable for older children, but that the sexually suggestive material was unsuitable for young children,” said the ASA ruling.
“We therefore concluded that the ad was inappropriately scheduled and an ex-kids restriction should have been applied to prevent the ad from being broadcast in or around children's programming.”