The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]


The Scent Of Disaster …
December 6, 2012, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

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.

Utter rubbish.


64 Comments so far
Leave a comment

dont know where the fuck youve been, but the campbell i knew and liked is fucking back. kick those pretentious french fucks. kick them till they are on their knees begging for mercy.

welcome home campbell, this blog has suddenly become interesting.

Comment by andy@cynic

it wont last will it. fucking teasing prick.

Comment by andy@cynic

which is very fucking different to being a prick teaser.

Comment by andy@cynic

Maybe we like this version of Rob because it’s been so long since we last saw it. But if I remember correctly, when he was like this every day, it got as annoying as when he is his new, mature, more pleasant version.

Comment by DH

pleasant? when the fuck has campbell ever been pleasant?

Comment by andy@cynic

or mature. for fucks sake, he wears birkenstocks. in winter. actually fuck the inappropriate weather issue. he wears birkenstocks. that might be more stupid than immature but nows not the time to be fucking picky.

Comment by andy@cynic

All good points.

Comment by DH

There’s still life in the old dog. Not much, but there’s still a faint pulse.

Comment by Rob

i hope pitt made a fucking fortune out of the french fucks because i doubt this is the sort of thing that will make angelina get down on her knees and want to succeed.

did you see what i did there? linguistic genius. .

Comment by andy@cynic

Shakespeare must be shitting himself.

Comment by DH

Did you mean the french fucks part or the succeeding part, or are you really a linguistic genius?

Comment by Paul

everything i fucking say, do or think is genius. yoda and shakespeare are fucking retards in comparison to me and dont you fucking forget it.

Comment by andy@cynic

That was a lyric in an old Bangkok Shakes song. Explains why I’m in advertising.

Comment by Rob

From Thelma and Louise to this.

Brad Pitt sure has gone a long way. Just not sure if its upwards or downwards.

Comment by DH

“inevitable.” even that is pretentious as fuck.

ill tell you whats inevitable, perfume companies becoming more fucking ethereal than enya on fucking acid.

utter fucking wank. even the wife thinks so and chanel and pitt would be her dream fucking threesome

Comment by andy@cynic

“Incomprehensible”

Comment by Kylie

“The elusive, yet familiar, scent of Chanel No 5 captivates you while never allowing you to truly capture it.”

That’s got perfume, I mean parfam, ad written all over it.

That is not a compliment.

Comment by DH

“Insane”.

Comment by Bazza

Wow. That campaign is terrible.

Chanel 5 has always had a whiff of pretentiousness about it, but this is as subtle as a young guy, bathed in cheap aftershave.

Even the print work is bad. There’s no style or sophistication, just a big picture of Brad Pitts bearded face.

10 points for bravery.
100 points for stupidity.

Comment by Pete

Brilliantly written post by the way Rob. I laughed out loud throughout but I must admit the biggest chuckle was when I saw the ad.

Comment by Pete

who the fuck says “chuckle” anymore? fuck me pete, its not 1986 anymore, even if you still have the hairstyle from that glorious era.

Comment by andy@cynic

“inuit”

it begins with i.
its as fucking pointless as inevitable.
it could mark a new era in pretentious perfume ads.
so keep your negative fucking comments to yourself.

Comment by andy@cynic

I agree with Andrew, this is classic Robert revulsion. Not everything has always been deserving of your ire, but this does. Terrible.
What were they thinking, especially using his image on the print work? I appreciate he’s a Hollywood icon but he doesn’t scream sensual and sophisticated femininity. Especially with his beard.
This all smacks of them justifying his Pitts fee rather than understanding the purchase decision process. Unless men are their biggest customers and even then I’m not sure if that would work. This will be interesting to follow.

Comment by George

I think the issue is no one did any thinking.

Comment by Pete

No one will convince me this isn’t just frenchman piss in a fancy bottle.

Comment by Billy Whizz

And anyone who uses it is having a golden shower. Fact.

Comment by Billy Whizz

I don’t like the advertisement but I would like George to know it would be nice to see a bottle under the tree this Christmas.

Comment by Mary Bryant

im impressed with your lack of subtlety mary, but is that all you want? ask for a money pit log cabin in the middle of nowhere. a new car. an overly fucking extravagant future alimony payment. anything. not just a bottle of fucking smell water. hes good for it. very fucking good for it.

Comment by andy@cynic

and for the record, mary is one classy woman and if she thinks that ad is shit. its shit. full fucking stop.

Comment by andy@cynic

Stop enjoying yourself Andrew.

Comment by George

So the ad worked. A sale gained purely via earned media. it’s the future.

Comment by John

the ad didnt fucking work. intimifuckingdation did.

Comment by andy@cynic

Unless George leaves a bottle of something else beneath the tree.

But, that aside, aren’t all perfume ads always a load of overblown premium nonsense? Where’s the female upmarket equivalent of the Lynx/Axe effect or something that addresses how perfume makes the woman feel and what insecurity/confidence it suppresses/boosts? They may be out there, but I’ve never noticed them.

Comment by John

I’ve been told.

Comment by George

I love you Mary. Brilliant comment.

Comment by Rob

Great post! There was a piece of critique about this in the Dutch leading newspaper “NRC Handelsblad”. They linked to three parodies, the first one is by CONAN on TBS.

Comment by Paul

Bret Michaels. From Poison to parody ads.

The Nokia of celebrity?

Comment by Rob

I knew I could rely on you to know shit band singers Rob.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Christmas with Brad Pitt and a bottle of chanel would be perfect.

Jemma x

Comment by Jemma King

instead you have to settle for drunk dialed calls from billy and a bottle of fucking lambrusco.

Comment by andy@cynic

I am her Brad Pitt.

Comment by Billy Whizz

You spelt it wrongly Billy. It’s A.R.M. P.I.T.

Comment by Rob

I hope the person who approved this isn’t unemployed for too long. Christmas is approaching after all.

Comment by Lee Hill

Look at Lee getting in a few digs. Andy will be proud. Not sure if he’ll be proud enough to write off the lack of freebies he’s missed out on, but proud all the same.

Comment by Rob

Oh dear. In this case Brad appears to be cockney rhyming slang.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

I agree on brad Pitt not sure i agree on the rest
It seems that women want some impenetrable story a window into a narrative
But that’s just me
Maybe it misses that epitome of French sophistication thing

Comment by Northern

What do you mean ‘the rest’ … the Brad Pitt thing is the WHOLE issue I have with this rubbish.

Are you insighting my post again?

Comment by Rob

Oh, if you mean this:

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.

… that’s fine, it’s just me muttering out loud as usual. Mind you, I swear to god it still makes more sense than a MediaArts recommendation.

Comment by Rob

I’m not people want any ad to make sense flat Eric doesn’t make sense old spice guy only makes sense if you work in Adland
My wife doesn’t work in Adland and likes it because she’d leave me for brad Pitt and would like fantasise she’s the girl he’d buy Chanel no 5 for and perfume is about fantasy not common sense
And maybe blokes buying it for girls want to pretend they’re brad pitt

Comment by Northern

Oh I’ve just Marcus’ comment
And don’t bring media arts into it that’s not fair

Comment by Northern

But is this the best possible fantasy for Chanel N5? Old Spice guy at least claims a benefit. And flat Ed was way cooler then I’ll ever be; let me get some jeans!

But this Brad Pitt, and I have a weak spot for this guy, does it really match with Chanel N5? For me N5 was always about treating a woman like a lady. A fantasy in which the man parttakes, and I think to many this is key to what Chanel N5 stood for. Not about some redneck type brad pitt incoherently babbling and make a false promise (except for jolie). No, you give N5 to the one and only, to your lady.

Comment by Paul

Don’t get me wrong I don’t like it but I’m not sure it’s as clear cut as rob implies

Comment by Northern

fuck me, all this fucking angst over brad fucking pitt and some french piss. youve all gone fucking mental.

Comment by andy@cynic

Do they want that, or is that just what they have come to expect from perfume ads?

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Although it would be easy to agree with you (and avoid the wrath of Andy and Mary) I’m not going to. Maybe I’m loosing my touch (this is highly likely) but I think this is going to be quite successful. It’s going to work with hopelessly stressed, unimaginative men looking for a gift for a woman this Christmas.

The clue is, for me at least is this version, which is currently running in Germany: http://youtu.be/9UvVmMamNgE,
the scene with the woman in the window, which kind of reminds me of http://youtu.be/vVof0qj7SOw.

The first time I saw it I immediately thought of the fight club. Interestingly enough the global search volume for “fight club” has risen over the last 40 days, as has Chanel 5.

I’ve just checked Chanel 5 on amazon in Germany. Here are a list of products that people who bought Chanel also purchased:

-Lemmy [2 DVDs]
-Lemmy – Talking: Sex, Drugs &…
-The Dirt: Sie wollten Sex, Drugs…
– Ozzy: Die Autobiografie
-Slash: Die Autobiografie
-GOD SAVE THE KING – LEMMY T-Shirt
-Motörhead – The Wörld is Ours,…
-Steven Tyler – Does The Noise In…
-Sex Money Kiss
-Tattoos & Tequila: Mein Weg zur…

This isn’t really proof of anything but it is still interesting but I think they are going for the fellas this Christmas.

Comment by Marcus

hello, by the way.

Comment by Marcus

Hello!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Fair point, but I’d say if that was the case, their media choices are pants because a quick check seems to suggest they’re still focusing on more female skewed channels/magazines. Then there’s the issue of whether it reflects the essence of the brand because (1) I don’t think this thing represents Chanel well for women and (2) it’s way too pretentious for a bunch of blokes who buy Motörhead documentaries. Like, errrrm, me.

Who knows. I think it’s shit though.

Oh and hello!!!

Comment by Rob

“The essence of the brand”. We used to argue about stuff like that back in 2006.

Comment by Marcus

i wouldnt try act like a smug fuck marcus, youre saying that pile of perfume wank is good and will attract croydon dwelling monkey twats in their droves. even if youre right, chanel make no fucking cash when their products are fucking shoplifted.

by the way. hello.

Comment by andy@cynic

That says more about german men than chanel.

Comment by DH

The first rule of perfume ads…

Comment by John

Excellent.

Comment by Marcus

We’ve fucked that up then havent we.

Comment by Rob




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