Perfume Ads: Director’s Cut

With Christmas right around the corner, TV ads battle each other with some of the best, most extravagant and creative concepts. Fragrances ads have always been…different. We actually recognize a perfume ad from the very first seconds. It normally feels dreamy, unreal, cinematic, surreal, ethereal. After all they have to try to evoke an essence that you are not able to smell there and then. And they do that by combining colors, music, clever editing and celebrities.

Boss Bottled

Scottish actor, Gerard Butler, famous for playing the Spartan Leonidas in “300”, is the new ambassador for “Boss Bottled“. The ad is without a doubt very cinematic and should supposedly make us perceive Gerard Butler’s virility as #ManofToday. Although Butler’s voice and accent actually do draw a veil of sensual manliness, many did not understand the concept or the meaning of the ad. Gerard Butler gets dressed, sprays the Boss Bottled, leaves his perfectly polished home to take a slow-mo walk outside on the streets. It ends with him looking towards the horizon on what seems to be a bay of a metropolis. Of course what matters most is his speech. A passionate, encouraging and inspiring speech that aims at making men feel proud of what they have achieved and will achieve. If the speech was convincing or not…that’s up to you. However, the fragrance remains a true classic and we’re all happy about that.

Gucci Guilty

A fierce, passionate and artistic commercial starring Evan Rachel Wood and Chris Evans, America’s most beloved Captain. The ad looks like a comic book: mostly black and white with touches of color to emphasize certain features. It recalls Sin City for the graphics and tinges, and Ghost Rider for the flames of Evan Rachel Wood’s sports car. The ad opens on Ms. Wood driving her lusty car on a mid-air highway in an ultra modern and black city. She pulls over and looks into the distance, where she sees Chris Evans. The two exchange malicious looks at a bar until they share an ardent moment of passion. It is at this point that we are taken back to the initial scene, when the girl stops the car. She had just imagined it all and decides to turn around and leave. The leitmotif of this ad is clearly “guilty pleasures”, which perfectly recalls the name of the fragrance, Gucci “Guilty“.

Dolce & Gabbana The One

An Academy Award winning mix composed by Matthew McConaughey and Scarlett Johansson, directed by Martin Scorsese. Dolce&Gabbana’s “The One” is portrayed by a short film: “Street of Dreams”, a story about a man and woman who we know nothing about. All that is given to us is bits and pieces of dialogue, from which we can try to reconstruct their story and can only deduce what it could have possibly been. The short film is in black and white, recalling the elegance of old fashioned Hollywood and New York. Mr. McConaughey picks up Ms. Johansson in his beautiful vintage car and the two start a subtle and flirtatious conversation that will last until the very end of the ad. They reminisce about their past while standing on a balcony overlooking the Manhattan skyline. When he looks at his watch and says “[they] have to go back”, she looks at him in a nostalgic, hopeful and loving way telling him that “they should”. This last sentence can have different meanings according to personal interpretations, but we like to think that she means that they should go back to that moment in time when their relationship didn’t need anything else but each others’ love. A romantic masterpiece that can go unnoticed or be misunderstood if it’s not watched attentively.

La vie est belle

Hollywood’s favorite Pretty Woman, is the new face of Lancôme’s “La Vie Est Belle“. The commercial opens on an air-view of Paris at night. A writing appears, setting a heroic tone to the scene: “In a world full of diktats and conventions, could there be another way?” This is followed by a scene where Julia Roberts, in a shimmering white gown, walks across a party room full of men and women dressed in black. These seem to be controlled and chained by glowing ropes attached to the ceiling, moving them as if they were puppets. Ms. Roberts looks at her reflection in the mirror and notices that she has those glowing ropes too. She smirks and breaks loose from those ropes, with the rest of the homogeneous guests looking at her in awe. The message that comes through from this ad is to be yourself and live the life you want to live, because life is beautiful (la vie est belle). The real protagonist of this commercial, however, is the actual bottle of perfume. A beautiful, tasteful and refined bottle that we can only see towards the end of the ad.

No matter if we like them or not, or how surreal, meaningful and cinematic they are, perfume commercials always catch our attention. What do you think about perfume ads and which one is your favorite?

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