Saturday, August 13, 2011

Chanel No. 5 - Share the Fantasy

Sort of a tribute to Bill Bernbach on his Birth Centennial :)

The German novel 'Das Parfum', its later translation in English titled 'Perfume' and its subsequent adaptation in a movie (Perfume), have all portrayed the enigma of fragrance and how it can impact human emotions immensely. 'Strong' and 'subtle' would be the key words one can aptly associate with perfumes. And thus, it is prudent to stick to the keywords while one is to advertise for a perfume brand. That's what Chanel, the premium fashion house did to bring back the verve in their perfume line post the death of Coco Chanel (French fashion designer, founder of brand Chanel) (1971). 
In 1979, at a time when erotic advertising was not really encouraged, DDB (Doyle Dane Bernbach) introduced a sensual TVC for Chanel No. 5 (One of the World's top-selling perfume, introduced on May 5, 1921). The television spot highlighted the tag-line, 'Share the Fantasy'. The idea was conveyed with so much finesse that an unconventionally sensuous spot was also appreciated across the industry and outside.  

The 30 second film highlighted a woman basking by the pool side, soaking the sun and the aroma of the lush blue water in the swimming pool, while the shadow of an air-plane passes over her. A smooth voice over from the background hushes, “ I am made of blue sky and golden light, and I will feel this way forever”. In the next shot appears your effervescent tall, dark & handsome man, diving in the pool from the other side, swimming all the way to make it to the woman's side, only to magically disappear at the instant of appearing out of the pool. That's when you subtly hear John Huston in the background uttering the three magic words, 'Share the Fantasy'. 

As interpreted by many advertising enthusiasts of that time, the TVC leaves it on you to fill in the missing images and lends in a palatable sensuous idea which doesn't even border on being distasteful or lewd, by any means. Precisely, the ad stays conspicuously etched in your head despite having any overtly carnal implications or bold sexual propositions. 

Directed by British film director, Ridley Scott (of 'Alien' & 'Blade Runner' fame), the mesmerizing background score was picked from a Greek composer, Vangelis Papathanassious' album named 'China'. The tag-line was only used in the American version of the ad because the makers felt that Chanel's brand identity was iconic enough in France to carry through the message. Brand mavens described this campaign as a significant step in repositioning the company's long term entity. And what repositioning after all, Chanel No.5 has thus far never lost the status of being the top best-selling perfumes in the world. Looks like the line, 'I'll feel this way forever' did have some fragrant resonance, and how !
- Shephali