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Chanel No 5.
The embodiment of femininity.
Understated. Elegant. Classic.
Sure, they have had the odd moment of madness – like that obscenely indulgent ad by Baz Luhrman featuring Ms Plastic Face, Nicole Kidman – but generally, they’ve stayed true to the perfume brand that was immortalized by Marilyn Monroe and has enchanted and entranced countless generations of women all around the World.
Which makes their current campaign all the more weird, because rather than communicate the essence of their iconic brand [and unlike many that define themselves in that way, this one truly is] in a new way, they’ve seemingly walked away from everything they’ve built up over nearly 100 years and ended up making the sort of rubbish that at first, you think is a massive piss take.
Point 1: They Use Brad Pitt
Don’t get me wrong, Mr Pitt is a handsome fella, but apart from the fact he’s in his ‘redneck, mountain dwelling’ appearance, he’s hardly the embodiment of femininity is he?
Point 2: The End Line Is ‘Inevitable’
I get it. They’re saying that at some point in life, you discover what everyone of a particular mindset – or experience – discovers.
And they’re saying one of those things is Chanel No 5.
I get it, but only from a ‘brand onion’ sort-of sense.
They’re so many words they could have used. Words that are far more evocative than ‘inevitable’ … but it appears the people behind this ad are under the misguided impression the World revolves around them because they’ve ended up choosing a word that sounds more appropriate as the positioning for the latest Twilight movie rather than Chanel.
But it gets worse.
Much, much worse, because there’s a television component to this campaign which leads to my next point …
Point 3: Brad Is Talking Utter Tosh
You could just about justify the use of a male celebrity for a female iconic brand if he was talking about something emotive, sensory and beautiful – maybe how the elusive, yet familiar, scent of Chanel No 5 captivates you while never allowing you to truly capture it – but instead, they have got him rambling some incoherent nonsense that makes you look at the spot in shock rather than awe.
Then laughter. Utter laughter.
You want to see it?
Seriously, you have to, so cop a load of this.
What the fuck were Chanel thinking?
Did someone from TBWA brainwash them with their ‘disrupt at all costs’ philosophy?
A philosophy that ultimately means your competitors influence your positioning more than you do … even though saying something different [or differently] to your competitors is – if done well and for the right reasons – obviously a good thing.
And what if someone doesn’t see the TVC and only the Brad Pitt poster?
Sure, in some ways, that would be less harmful, but surely the response would be either:
1. Ignore it, thinking it couldn’t possibly be an ad for Chanel No 5.
2. Query it, because none of it makes any fucking sense.
3. Avoid it, because they don’t want a perfume that a man flogs.
Seriously Chanel, you’ve gone from being classic to pretentious in one campaign.
Or said another way, from valuable to disposable in a couple of ads.
Even Nokia didn’t achieve that level of brand destruction so quickly.
Your only saving grace is you have so many ‘credits’ in the brand bank, that the huge cost of this campaign [physically & metaphorically] might still keep you solvent.
Though that noise you can hear is Coco Chanel turning like a turbine in her grave.
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