For a lot of people, Christmas starts when the Coca Cola advert plays, the John Lewis advert, when the Christmas lights get switched on or when the Christmas songs begin to play. But for me, strangely enough, it is when the attack of the perfume advert happens. I can’t be the only one who thinks this, surely? But every year (not even gradually I don’t think), perfume ads take over our TV screens. As if overnight, they’re everywhere. Throughout the year there is the occasional one, but apparently it’s all we buy each other come Christmas.
Perfume adverts seem to have a love/hate impression on most people. Within the first few seconds you can always tell you’re watching one simply by the fact that you cannot understand a single thing that is going on. The commentary never seems to help either. I have always said to anyone who’d listen, that I want to come up with my own concept for a perfume ad one day. There really doesn’t seem to be a right or wrong, you can literally let your imagination run away with you. I think it would be such fun.
I sat down to watch some TV the other day and was welcomed by a myriad. Chris Hemsworth getting dressed in a suit, grabbing a coffee and just going about his day. Liam Hemsworth, hallucinating things on a rooftop. Dakota Johnson and friends, swimming in a lake full of flowers. Kristen Stuart running while increasingly being unravelled from her clothes. And Lily-Rose Depp, doing as youngsters do. The list goes on if you think about it.
Perfume ads I remember the most, all stick out for different reasons. Some are overtly sexy, some are just people having a good ol’ time and others, I’m still figuring out what they were trying to say.
Chanel’s Coco Mademoiselle ad with Keira Knightley. What’s iconic for me is that nude outfit, helmet and motorcycle ensemble. She must be the only woman on earth who can pull that off and not look like some kind of pastry. She rides around, I’m guessing Paris, ending up at a photo shoot where the photographer is rather dashing. She goes on to seduce him, only to make THE fastest re-dress and escape I’ve ever seen, when he turns his back for a millisecond to lock the door. Talk about leave ‘em wanting more.
J’adore Dior with Charlize Theron, there are a few versions of this, and my fave is a tie between the one where she’s walking towards the camera ripping off her jewellery and unzipping her dress – rather aggressively. And the one where she gets caught in the rain in a slinky gold number. Night turns to day rather quickly as she stands there. Then she proceeds to run and enjoy herself in the humungous puddle the rain left behind, before walking off into the sunset.
Johnny Depp’s advert for Dior Sauvage starts with him getting increasingly frustrated by what looks like him trying, and failing, to tune a guitar. I get it, when you get annoyed it is nice to go for a drive, clear you head. He ends up in the desert seeing a buffalo and a wolf, which I’m guessing are a mirage. He then proceeds to epically dig himself a hole, sand is flying everywhere (I’m surprised not back into the hole), where he proceeds to place all of his jewellery. He then stands up for a very long time, as the sunlight behind him turns purple. (Something Dior seems a fan of)
Chanel No 5 with Brad Pitt … Where do I even start with this one. If anyone has any idea of the explanation to this, I am open. My mum and I still giggle to this day remembering “Inevitable”. I think what makes me remember this is the fact that I am still confused. Why is Brad Pitt sat in a terribly lit room? What is he saying to me so sexily? If I buy said women’s perfume is it “Inevitable” that Brad will appear?
Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue, I think this was where I first became confused and amused at perfume ads. We are greeted in the first shot by a man’s crotch in a very small pair of white speedos. (Did this ad get pulled? I don’t remember.) He notices a woman laid on a tiny boat out in the ocean. She too, is wearing a small white swimsuit. He dives on in, swims over to her, and boards her vessel. Much caressing occurs before a cue board appears in the nick of time to hide the man’s bare behind.
It is hard to sell something where you can’t prove its use. So why not take it as crazy as you can, then at least it’s memorable. In all fairness if you really read into the crazy they do sort of make sense – well some of them anyway. They portray different ages, different personas. Fragrance can make you feel sexy, playful, elegant, strong, it’s a staple for confidence and I think that’s what these ads show. All you need is a spritz.
I for one, clearly get drawn in by them. I guess because I like the idea of not knowing what’s going to happen next. But also, because I am yet to find my signature scent, one that stays on all day and gets complimented by those around me. Let’s face it, it’s always nice to be told you smell good. This Christmas, I’m planning to bring out the big guns and try Chanel’s Coco Mademoiselle, minus the nude suit of course. Wish me luck and I’ll let you know what I think. One day I will find the scent for me.