LOS ANGELES: Protesters are targeting Parfums Christian Dior over the name and marketing of its new scent, Dior Addict, claiming that it trivializes a serious medical problem.
"It paints a picture of glamour around addiction, and addiction is anything but glamorous," said Rick Sampson, director of Faces and Voices of Recovery (FaVoR), an advocacy organization. "They are cheapening the whole notion of recovery."
The campaign, dubbed "Addiction is not Fashionable," centers around media outreach and a letter-writing effort, and could expand to include rallies outside of retailers carrying the product, and boycotts of fashion magazines featuring Addict ads.
Last week, FaVoR coordinated a series of national press conferences in cities including Washington, DC and Minneapolis to promote its message that addiction is a medical problem, not a social choice.
The effort also picked up aid from government agencies such as the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), which condemned the campaign.
"This is a problem that millions of Americans are struggling with, and the idea of using this disease as a marketing tool is really abhorrent," said ONDCP director of public affairs Tom Riley, pointing out that more than 6 million people in the US have drug-dependency problems.
Outlets such as USA Today and CNN picked up the story. FaVoR head of communications Susan Rook, a former CNN reporter, is also traveling around the US for media appearances.
"This has expanded from a couple of women talking to one another, to an international grassroots effort," said Rook, citing interest in the campaign from as far away as Thailand and Australia.
Dior has not publicly responded to the controversy, and did not return calls for comment.