An Ode To Fragrance Ads

Marc-Jacobs-Decadence-Ad-Adriana-Lima
1

Adriana Lima photographed by Steven Meisel for Marc Jacobs

o-CALVIN-KLEIN-ADS-facebook
2

Kate Moss photographed by Mario Sorrenti for Calvin Klein

j_adore_perfume_for_women_by_christian_dior
3

Carmen Kass photographed by Jean Baptiste Mondino for Dior

add
4

Frida Gustavsson photographed by Juergen Teller for Marc Jacobs

20150211-131241947688240
5

Carmen Kass photographed by Inez Vinoodh for Narciso Rodriguez

opium_ysl
6

Sophie Dahl photographed by Steven Meisel for YSL

pub_fragrance_flora
7

Abbey Lee photographed by Inez Vinoodh for Gucci

acqua-di-gio
8

Lars Burmeister photographed by Bruce Weber for Armani

117
9

Christy Turlington Mark Vanderloo photographed by Bruce Weber for Calvin Klein

Marc-Jacobs-Decadence-Ad-Adriana-Lima

Adriana Lima photographed by Steven Meisel for Marc Jacobs

o-CALVIN-KLEIN-ADS-facebook

Kate Moss photographed by Mario Sorrenti for Calvin Klein

j_adore_perfume_for_women_by_christian_dior

Carmen Kass photographed by Jean Baptiste Mondino for Dior

add

Frida Gustavsson photographed by Juergen Teller for Marc Jacobs

20150211-131241947688240

Carmen Kass photographed by Inez Vinoodh for Narciso Rodriguez

opium_ysl

Sophie Dahl photographed by Steven Meisel for YSL

pub_fragrance_flora

Abbey Lee photographed by Inez Vinoodh for Gucci

acqua-di-gio

Lars Burmeister photographed by Bruce Weber for Armani

117

Christy Turlington Mark Vanderloo photographed by Bruce Weber for Calvin Klein

Marc-Jacobs-Decadence-Ad-Adriana-Lima
o-CALVIN-KLEIN-ADS-facebook
j_adore_perfume_for_women_by_christian_dior
add
20150211-131241947688240
opium_ysl
pub_fragrance_flora
acqua-di-gio
117
replies

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.

—Tom Newton

Photos via Marc Jacobs, Calvin Klein, Dior, Saint Laurent, Gucci, Armani, and Narciso Rodriguez.

More in great campaigns: Daria's chic crop (care of Christiaan) for Céline's Fall 2012 print ads. And remember that haunting Marc Jacobs look from a few years back?

Interviews, product reviews, and more