The scandalous trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard was the pick of the iceberg, as the allegations of abuse followed the actor for the past six years. He said he was blacklisted from Hollywood, which was pretty much the truth.
But, one brand stood by him, and it paid off. It is Depp's contract with Dior as he is the face of Sauvage, their perfume.
The public had mixed feelings about Depp, and it is clear that the movie industry did not want to take any chances. That led to him losing roles in the Fantastic Beasts and Pirates of the Caribbean franchises.
Despite losing the libel suit against the Sun, Dior did not replace the actor. It is no wonder when you know that Dior earns 4.5 million dollars from the sale of Sauvage alone. Every single day!
In fact, Marie Claire confirmed that Dior's Sauvage was the best-selling perfume in 2021 for all genders.
The luxurious French fashion house was advised to drop Depp.
Domestic abuse lawyer Rachel Horman-Brown branded Dior "irresponsible" and insulting to women for continuing to use Depp.
British PR expert Mark Borkowski said: "I think it would be sensible for Dior to sever links with Depp. Anything can be stopped by pressing a button if they really wanted to."
Borkowski added that he believed the fashion label was hedging its bets by keeping Depp as the face of the fragrance:
"A brand like Dior is not just looking at this territory. The attitude [toward Depp] in the UK will be very different to the one in eastern Europe, for example."
"Brands hope for short-term memory loss and long-term amnesia. These fashion companies live in their own bubble, it's like The Devil Wears Prada. They live in a world where they are used to facing controversy."
After the 2020 court ruling against the Sun, the sales skyrocketed, and in 2022, the iconic perfume reached new limits.
Though the public was not against Depp in Dior ads, Esquire's Influencer Of The Year, Jeetendr Sehdev, stated:
"Dior has been a champion of women, having initiated their Women@Dior program in 2017."
"But how can they do that credibly with an ambassador like Depp, who a high court had just branded a "monster" and found to have violently abused his former wife, Amber Heard, on 12 of the 14 different occasions when he binged on drink and drugs?"
"I'm no fan of cancel culture, but the law is the law. There are no two ways about it. Dior must ditch Depp."
Of course, there were controversies. In 2019, Depp and Dior filmed an ad for Sauvage, which was branded tone-deaf.
The campaign "We Are The Land" was pulled out, and Dior had to apologize for cultural insensitivity:
"We are deeply sorry for any offense caused by this new advertising campaign, which was meant to be a celebration of the beauty, dignity, and grace of the contemporary Native American culture. As a consequence, we have decided not to release this version of the campaign."
Unlike numerous other brands that embraced cancel culture, Dior avoided that trap.
Author and broadcaster Katie Edwards wrote in the Independent:
"Dior have been smart."
"At a time when many celebrities scream 'cancel culture!' any time they're criticized or called to account for their comments or behavior, the team at Dior seem to recognize that controversy can drive sales."
High risks come with high rewards. Ask Dior! Check out the compilation of Johnny's Dior ads: