Kylie Minogue And Agent Provocateur – Standing Up For Erotic Lingerie


Remembering cinema’s most sexually provocative and naughty commercial.

2001 might as well be a century ago. It’s difficult to conceive of the Agent Provocateur ad Proof, starring Kylie Minogue, being made today. If this played cinemas – assuming cinemas would even agree to show it – you can imagine howling outrage across social media. No matter that it is an ad for lingerie. No matter that Kylie is clearly in control and expressing her own sexuality. No matter that the joke is on men, essentially teasing them for getting embarrassing hard-ons while watching the ad in cinemas. This would be condemned as sexist objectification, and a grovelling apology from all involved would soon be forthcoming. In fact, you can’t imagine anyone as famous as Kylie Minogue was then even agreeing to do something like this today.

But even in 2009 – which again, might as well be a century ago – this ad could be voted the best cinema ad of all time by a public vote, based on a choice of ten chosen by advertising executives. At the time, it was seen as cheeky, sexy, humorous and fun – all of which it is, of course. But we have lurched so far backwards, allowing the prudes – sometimes hiding under the guise of feminism, sometimes shamelessly moralising – to take control of what we can see. What a shame.

But the ad, directed by Steve Reeves (not the 1960s peplum star) and with The Hives’ Main Offender belting out on the soundtrack, feels as fresh and delicious as ever. And come the cultural revolution – eventually – we might be able to enjoy this sort of thing again without the voices of the perpetually angry and bitter whining in our ears.

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