HK smoking law stubs 'Chanel' ad

Cigarettes, smoking not permitted in SAR promotions

HONG KONG -- Theatrical posters and newspapers ads of French biopic “Coco Before Chanel” showing star Audrey Tautou holding a cigarette are being replaced following a complaint from an anti-tobacco campaign group, distributor Lark Films told the Hollywood Reporter.

The advert, which appeared in local newspapers and subway stations across the city showing Tautou as Chanel holding a trademark cigarette is in violation of Hong Kong laws prohibiting smoking and cigarettes in advertising. A spokesperson of the distributor said the company had no knowledge of any violation, and that the film was released last Thursday according to customary procedures, having obtained approval and classification from the Hong Kong Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority.

According to TELA guidelines, film posters and advertising materials are not required to be submitted for censorship unless the film has been classified as Category III, meaning the film is not suitable for persons less than 18 years of age.

The offending cigarette has been airbrushed out in all local newspaper adverts that had appeared since the release of the film. The theatrical posters will be replaced within this week, Lark Films said. The adverts were Chinese versions of the original French poster, which had been banned in France in April for breaking a tobacco advertising law.

The biopic of the iconic fashion designer was the boxoffice champion in Hong Kong on its opening day, earning HK$1.9 million during its first weekend.

A call to Hong Kong’s Tobacco Control Office, the smoking ordinance enforcement agency under the Department of Health, was not been returned.