But the boost from the suggestive ad also left some bruises. On Jan. 23, while Diddy was being transported across Broadway in a sumptuous, tricked-out van — outfitted with limousine seating, a full bar, a flat-screen TV and a wooden parquet floor — he shared his feelings about the controversy following the ad. "I was extremely surprised by it. And at first, I was just like, if this is going to be the new industry norm, then I'll go along with it. But to be honest, I think that in some places, they didn't treat me fairly. I wanted to fight to make sure that my vision and my products are seamless in the stores and the magazines. I've been so involved in this and focused on it that [the controversy] really hurt me a little bit, because it felt a little discriminatory. I'm not saying it was on a black level. I just felt like I was being treated differently."
And he noted that it wasn't just expected areas of the country —such as the Bible Belt, for instance —that were raising a fuss. "It happened in New York and on the West Coast, too," he said. "It went over the Bible Belt and extended to the East Coast and the West Coast. Everybody knows culturally that fragrance ads are supposed to be sexy. That's a part of the culture in America. I guess that means that I'm following in the steps of the great ones — the campaigns that have been banned from stores and publications," he said with a laugh. "So I guess we're getting something good out of it." But don't expect that rebellious spirit to be tamed. "Going forward," he promised, "I won't be that lenient about giving in."
— With contributions from Andrea Arterbery and Crystal Martin