What’s that smell? It’s madness…
Perfume Brands. Their Advertising.
Oh. My. God.
Co-Founder Simon Manchipp investigates how the apparent weaknesses of a sector help it stand out from a bland crowd.
They are all utterly and fabulously and dreadfully and incredibly awful.
So bad. Unforgivable.
And yet they endure. Over and over.
Every single one an utter stinker.
‘I’m not going to be the person I’m expected to be anymore’ — or something, says the perfectly groomed hair piece in front of the camera.
What the hell is he talking about in this travesty of script mismanagement?
(Plus: the lead man is the actor who depicted Yves Saint Laurent in the 2014 biopic Saint Laurent! Even the casting is laughably insular)
Yet this ad has over £20m of media spend behind it. And the first instalment was directed by Martin Scorsese! YOU COULDN’T MAKE IT UP.
“I know it’s my first day in the job.
But give it a chance…
Man runs away from fans.
Then tells them he’s had enough.
“Ace. I’ll call Marty, glass of fizz?”
Seriously. We know Theron is being taken for the ultimate Charlie when we see her waft across the water, Christ-like. Dressed in gold. But Is Dior really promising us a pearly gate pass with every squirt of their branded nectar? It’s a lie. Right?
The old stinky guard were great liars too…
‘Cool Water’ would have been seen as tobacco brand, Davidoff’s ultimate extinguisher in any self respecting creative review on nomenclature.
Yet there it was, lead product name supported by six-packs-a-leaping like dolphins stuck up against wire fences.
Perfume does not make you fitter. Or thinner.
Yet Kate Moss stared through the page for Calvin Klein’s Obsession. Skinny… natch…
Puffs of perfume can’t make you bigger either, yet a voluptuous Dahl flopped headily after too many puffs of Opium.
The real shocker? The audience’s lapped them up and pumped them all over their necks and faces and unmentionable crevices.
The. Lies. Worked.
The gold keeps on coming like an endless seam.
But no self respecting creative I know could even begin to think this stuff up.
Let alone suggest it without corpsing at conception. (Although there is a brilliant twitter account — @PerfumeAds — where film ideas are dreamt up regularly, and while loopy to read aloud, could very easily be made.)
It’s as if the marketing crew have simply been struck off and in their place a magnificently funded game of spin the perfume bottle has been installed.
Chanel took Giselle on a surfing holiday and Keira took to a motorbike nightly.
Both preposterous scripts.
And here’s why I’m fascinated…
HOW did a script that involved a man driving into a desert and digging a hole attract a bigger budget (and attention) than something amazing like the work surrounding the need to beat cancer sooner for Cancer Research UK.
The perfume sector is ALL brand.
So is the smelly marketeer onto something?
Very rarely, someone manages to do something amazing — like the Kenzo film. The short film was directed by Spike Jonze and stars Margaret Qualley, actress and dancer (and Andie MacDowell offspring), who shoots laser beams out of her fingers in service of the product from Kenzo, the French luxury fashion house. Totally nuts, but this time, seemingly deliberately, knowingly nuts.
Seeing Mr Depp in sunglasses was always a treat. (Until, you know. He wasn’t.) But I’m not sure his (rumoured £5m) spade work compels me to dash out to Superdrug and acquire some new whiffs. Just because Big.D’s spirit animals told him he was over accessorising.
And yet here’s the rub. It’s got to work. All of it.
Otherwise, why and how could it possibly continue. Hundreds of millions of pounds at play. Billions.
Every other sector has moved on.
Even ads for washing powder and fizzy drinks don’t slurp around in decade old concepts.
But there the toilet waters stay.
Happy in the knowledge that the next whoppertunity is not a data-powered social movement owned by the masses.
But a flavour of the month, mayfly-celeb who’ll happily dance the fandango through illiterate scripts and laughable scenes.
I’ve always said that in marketing, ‘weird works’.
But this stuff takes the biscuit.
It’s an endless stream of deranged content that refuses to die, and keeps on winning the marketing war.
They are clearly commercial wabi-sabi. ‘the right kind of wrong ‘
They are Sauvage — because they refuse to play the game the others play.
They are ludicrous, idiotic, far fetched and full of folly.
And they work. They make us stop, stare and remain startled by their sheer chutzpah.
Even the most media savvy, sarcastic and slick player falls for their zig-while-they-zag charms.
I was recently watching the so-hip-it-hurts cooking show ‘F**k That’s Delicious’ — on Viceland TV, where the hyper-cool rapper & presenter Action Bronson, saw a poster for the Dior campaign while eating lunch in Paris…
‘I’m going to buy that Dior perfume now’ he exclaimed, ‘If it’s good enough for Johnny Depp, it’s good enough for me.’
EXCLUSIVE: I hear this is an outtake of the new YSL ad…