Fragrance ads kill me. Really. I love them—more so than fashion advertisements and definitely more so than cosmetic ones. In my mind, they're the best things the marketing world has yet to come up with: The clothes don't have to look good (or be there at all); the budgets are huge; the bottle doesn't even have to be in the shot. Anything goes and the product still sells somehow. You'll get Adriana Lima with smudged mascara sprawled out on a velvet couch with a bottle of Decadence. Kate Moss naked in an alleyway shot by her boyfriend. Nicki Minaj running through a forest in a princess costume. Julia Roberts at a party with magic see-through chain breaking powers. A little something for everyone.
The first perfume commercial I noticed—like, really noticed—was Tiiu Kuik's J'adore Dior ad. She was covered in liquid gold, had this beautiful stacked choker thing, and just looked so damn good. With Carmen Kass and Charlize also repping the same fragrance, all of the J'adore ads are iconic by this point.
Then there's Carmen Kass' crown braid Narciso Rodriguez moment. This is probably the best example I can think of in terms of selling a product sans any information. It's just a portrait of Carmen. But it's ephemeral, just like scent. So I guess it makes some sense.
The Chanel commercials are always major as well. I'm talking Nicole Kidman dramatically running around in a giant beaded pink gown against a CGI city skyline. Marc Jacob's Daisy ads were also pretty effective—sunny fields, Juergen Teller/Sofia Coppola and some very timely models (Hannah Holman, Frida Gustavsson). No girl I've ever met hasn't dabbled in wearing Daisy at some point.
Other honorable mentions go to:
- Abbey Lee Kershaw's's witchy Gucci Flora commercial, beautiful enough to take your breath away.
- Acqua Di Gio, with the wet guy in black and white (Lars Burmeister, as cast/scouted by Jen Starr). I know everyone knows that one.
- Sophie Dahl's banned Opium ad will always have a spot in my heart as well—very simple but it caused a lot of drama. Not sure why people needed to get hung up on a little breast grabbing when you've got Pat McGrath's gorgeous green eyeshadow + magenta lip to focus on (if you don't know who Sophie Dahl is please look her up).
I wouldn't call any of these the best though, that'd be too hard to choose but Christy Turlington's Calvin Klein fragrance ads shot by Bruce Weber would have to be the strongest contender. They're iconic, very simple and sort of summarize that whole period of time in the fashion world. They're pretty timeless as well. I can't imagine them ever losing their appeal.
Anyway...what's your favorite? Separate em' out for me! The best print fragrance ad, the best commercial, or the one that made you buy the scent without ever smelling it.
Photos via Marc Jacobs, Calvin Klein, Dior, Saint Laurent, Gucci, Armani, and Narciso Rodriguez.