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Eau de parfum

Following the recent controversy regarding Taylor Swift’s video allegedly plagiarising the KENZO fragrance advert (above) it prompted the conversation for what are our favourite perfume adverts. This is an easily laughed at medium and I think (as you’ll see) there are some that miss the point and get lost in their own self worth but I’m really intrigued by the style, design and execution of a lot of perfume adverts.

To state the obvious perfume adverts are attempting to a sell a product that it is impossible to convey within the given format. How do you get round this? Create a mood. And I think it’s that aspect I find the most interesting because it is based on presenting a lifestyle and perception of a brand and how this make the customer feel. So here are a few of my favourites:

Wes Anderson/PRADA

This is perfume adverts in the age of Youtube. This has nothing to do with the bottle, the smell, the company behind it. This is promotion based on using a stylish, fashionable and mainstream/cult following director – Wes Anderson. It lasts almost 8 minutes and if you’re a fan of the director as much as I am I think you’ll enjoy this.

Calvin Klien/Obsession/Kate Moss

I think this advert alone plays a large part in why there is a common perception that perfume adverts are ridiculous. I love this ad because of it being so ridiculous. What’s it about? Doesn’t matter. What happens? Difficult to say, really. It looks exactly like you’d think French experimental film would look but it’s entirely serious.

Chanel No. 5/Audrey Tautou

This is another example of how great perfume adverts can tell a whole story in a very short amount of time. In less than than two and a half minutes you get beautiful locations, a trendy French actor and a lesson in the kind of mood that Chanel are trying to sell.

Dior/Marion Cotillard

Beautifully shot, stylish and also really fun. This 5 minute short for Dior staring Marion Cottillard captures that relaxing, end of the day feeling as the sun sets but in a house we can only enviously imagine we might one day live in, with a twist. Combined with some killer dance moves this advert mixes a lot into the allotted time all whilst constantly shifting the audience’s perspectives.

Gucci Bloom

“I wanted a rich white floral fragrance, a courageous scent that transports you to a vast garden filled with many flowers and plants, a bouquet of abundance. The garden is as beautiful as women are; colourful, wild, diverse, where there is everything,” Alessandro Michele. (Couldn’t have put it better myself!)

Wes Anderson/PRADA/Léa Seydoux

This is easily my favourite. I know I’ve featured Wes Anderson twice but it’s for good reason, because he’s brilliant (apart from Bottle Rocket). And this ranks up there with anything else he’s done. I know that’s a strong statement but the mood, the muted colour palette, the obvious affection for an imagined Paris that probably never was and all in three and half minutes. This is exactly why I love perfume adverts.

Special mention:

When perfume ads go horribly wrong and only fulfil your fears that actors take themselves so seriously and that they don’t realise how disconnected they are from the real world: