Chanel No 5.. And Keeping A Legend ‘Fresh’

October 18, 2012

Have you seen the new Brad Pitt video for Chanel? This commercial was shot by Joe Wright, the man responsible for the films, Atonement and Anna Karenina and it is daring in its simplicity and direction. If not, you can view it here 

It is a big leap from the Chanel advertising we have come to know, to expect and to love… Brad Pitt is the first man to advertise the world’s most popular and best selling fragrance… Chanel No 5. (A bottle of this perfume sells every second somewhere in the world… ) Pitt, as the new face of Chanel, follows some super glamours … Marilyn Monroe, Jean Shrimpton, Catherine Deneuve, Lauren Hutton, Carole Bouquet, Nicole Kidman and Audrey Tatou.

 “To keep a legend fresh, you always have to change its point of view,” Andrea d’Avack, president of Chanel’s fragrance and beauty division told Women’s Wear Daily. “It is the first time we’ve had a man speaking about a women’s fragrance. We think very much that the perfume is a seduction between a man, a woman and the perfume. No.5 is our leading fragrance, and we are willing to make the investment to keep it on that level.”

Is this brilliance or is it too much of a deviation for Chanel? I am always happy to gaze at Mr Pitt… but somehow I don’t think of him… and Chanel, as a pairing… What do you think? Is this a clever move from Chanel or not?

Will this campaign be the start of a new direction for fragrance houses? xv

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  • Melanie says:

    I am not sure…Don’t get me wrong, like most women I think Brad is fabulous but…I am just not sure that he’s right for Chanel No 5. or for that matter – any women’s iconic fragrance. I know many will disagree – but for me – I still want to see a beautiful inspiring women in perfume advertisements.

    • Vicki says:

      Perhaps we are old fashioned… :) Or maybe Chanel is cleverer than we think… and changing their approach will create controversy that will draw attention to their products and in turn lead to sales…

    • Joanna C says:

      I don’t think that Chanel use women who are inspiring or at least not inspiring as Chanel was – came from an incredibly poor background, abandoned by her parents, found opportunities and used them to the max, worked hard and made a business which has been successful for decades and a name that has lived on after her death. The women Chanel use may be beautiful and glamorous but I need more than that to inspire me. I think Brad Pitt’s a good option because women do use scent as Andrea d’Avack said to be alluring and enhance seduction. Brad Pitt works because he chose or was chosen by a beautiful, glamorous woman and one who is inspiring too – Angelina Jolie. As Vicki says it’s working, we’re talking about it and watching it – just what advertising’s meant to do!


    • Kelly says:

      I am not a fan.

    • Sue says:

      I guess time will tell… I’m not a fan particularly of Mr Pitt, or a male taking the role of advertising such an iconic fragrance, it tells me that the advertising gurus have run out of ideas and are ready to push Chanel No 5 in a left field direction… I think of Chanel as a luxury fragrance for women, and associate glamerous inspirational women with this fragrance, I’m sure if the advertisers did their homework they could find many women that would fill this roll, but I guess it also tells us they are trying to pitch Chanel No 5 to a younger market, I have loved Chanel No 5 for nearly 40 years, so I guess I am not their target market anymore, what a pity, show me a beautiful lady any day, thank you Vicki I so much enjoy your observations and your French inspiration S x

  • Pamela says:

    Dear Vicki
    It might have worked. Brad Pitt is after all an icon and could have brought a new group of buyers to the label and the scent. But he’s unconvincing, looks uncertain about what he’s doing and there’s no hint of a back story to support him. Perhaps if it had been about an old lost love who’d always worn Chanel 5, or something of that sort, perhaps a bit cliched, but still at least it would have made sense. But personally I just found it embarassing to see him looking shifty-eyed over Chanel 5 with a monologue that is confused and non-sensical when spoken by a man: “my luck, my fate, my fortune”. After all Chanel 5 is not something that many men would go out and buy for themselves. Think Joe Wright and Chanel have got it badly wrong here. Will be interested to see what others think. Best wishes, Pamela

    • Vicki says:

      I keep watching (not just for Brad :)) to see if the video warms on me … or in truth that I understand Chanel’s thinking… Not yet…

      • Panna says:

        I cringed when I watched it and my immediate reaction was, “This is the best you could do for my beloved No. 5?” :-) So disappointing.

        Watched part two last night, and felt it was better — maybe more aligned to what I’ve seen (and appreciated) in the past.

        Here it is, in case you haven’t seen it:

        In my opinion, the campaign with Audrey Tautou is their best one yet.

        • Vicki says:

          Yes.. it is marginally more like their other campaigns… but nothing brilliant…

          • Antonia says:

            It only appears better because he is in it less. But the entire thing is disjointed and his clip is completely at odds with the other images. He is badly dressed; looks like he didn’t care how he looked – would Coco have approved? I think she would have been aghast. In the still his hair is embarrassing. Chanel is about defining a woman’s most sensual essence. Neither he nor the jumble of Part II conveys this.

    • Pam Dunn says:

      Since Brad is rumored to rarely bathe–his Chanel ad speaks of insincerity and was probably just too much money to turn down!

  • LittleRus says:

    I saw it last night and it didn’t look like much to me at all. In fact, I was disappointed. I understand the concept of freshness and bringing new ideas in, but the campaign doesn’t agree with me. It’s a good step to make people talk, but as far as branding goes, I feel it was a mistake (as far as getting to women’s hearts and make them think of the perfume)

    • Vicki says:

      Time will tell I guess… but I can’t help but think women prefer beauty and feminine prompts…

      • LittleRus says:

        Agree… Do you think he will now have to wear the perfume, too? I mean, if somebody advertises a product, say, a watch, they wear it… At least we will all know what Brad smells like. :D

        • Vicki says:

          Delicious… and maybe that’s it… Chanel are cleverer than all of us… they are appealing to the male population…:)

  • Kathy says:

    I felt awkward when I watched this clip. Maybe it is aimed at a new to Chanel No5 younger market. Seems quirky to me and not classic Chanel. Don’t get me wrong, I am a Brad Pitt fan, but even he seemed awkward! Maybe George Clooney was unavailable!
    Cheers, Kathy

    • Vicki says:

      George is too busy with the coffee!

      • Pamela says:

        Dear Vicki
        George’s coffee ad recently screened on Australian television is so witty and clever. He’s utterly gorgeous as always, but it’s the twist at the end and George’s self-deprecation that is so charming. Can’t imagine him ever agreeing to do Brad’s particular Chanel video as the script and the lack of scenario are so lame. I would imagine his IQ is rather higher than Brad’s -and his judgment better as well. He chooses to do coffee ads that combine the commercial (he’s admitted they bring in enough for him to accept scale payment for participating in serious movies that aren’t going to be blockbusters) with wit and class. The Chanel ad has neither. Despite the intrinsic class of the product itself.

        When he was younger Brad Pitt was such a pretty boy that he didn’t appeal to me personally, though I would imagine many would disagree with me. Now that he’s older though, the small signs of age and wear and tear give him greater appeal; his face has more character. I just think it’s a pity he hides this under all the facial hair, perhaps originally grown to break away from the pretty boy image. Best wishes, Pamela

        • Vicki says:

          George Clooney seems to be the most popular here on our forum… Understandably…:)

          • Hope says:

            Pamela, you so concisely wrote exactly what I was thinking! I agree with every word. Oh, my now you’ve got George Clooney in my head!

    • Keri says:

      I am part of the Chanel No5 younger market. (age 30 and bought my first bottle last year) I also felt awkward watching the clip. It does not speak to me at all or encourage me to become a No5 devotee. I agree with you, too, that he seemed awkward as well, but unlike you, I am no Brad Pitt fan.

      • Vicki says:

        It is a wonderful fragrance with so much depth… maybe this is where they were going with this video… but somehow it hasn’t appealed…

  • Pamela has summed up my feelings perfectly on this. Nonsensical dialogue in the absence of a context … it’s no wonder he looks confused and sounds unconvincing delivering them. IMHO Brad should have stuck with the stills – he looks fabulous in the shot at the top, elegant, brooding, sexy, just right for a refreshed Chanel 5 image. Just don’t make him speak!

  • SO glad you brought this up Vicki, it has been the subject of much taunting here in France.
    Although looking at Mr Pitt doesn’t hurt my eyes, I really find the ad quite ridiculous. No music, no atmosphere, I don’t even think that he manages to look convinced by the text he’s asked to recite. Nothing to do with him being a man, just a badly conceived ad!
    A definite no from me!

    • PS! Apparently the people at Chanel have been listening to us Vicki, this morning they released a new version of the ad!

    • Vicki says:

      Interesting that the French aren’t fans of this… but perhaps the French aren’t where the market is? Those who wear No 5 will buy it regardless… Who will Brad bring to the party? I would have thought that Chanel need to appeal to a younger generation… but maybe he does? I can’t see my girls being ‘seduced’ by Brad Pitt… he is more interesting to ‘oldies’ like me!

  • Esther George says:

    Hi Vicki I’m not sure about this even the guys on our morning TV shows seem not to like it I just don’t mind looking at him. My first perfume was given to me for Christmas from one of customers in the bank I worked for I was 18 years old and that started a love story between me and No.5. I also love No. 22 and Gardenia. Maybe they should have done a silent black and white. Regards Esther from Sydney. PS love your blog and your beautiful books given to me as Christmas gifts.

  • I’m loving him in the stills, but as for the ad… I just don’t get it. {I’m trying, really I am. Should we have to try, though?} Regardless, gazing at Brad Pitt can’t possibly hurt sales. I do like their boldness in taking a chance.

  • Deidre Groundwater says:

    Oh it is just awful!

  • Jojo says:

    Hmmm… Not too convinced but I am looking forward to seeing Anna Karenina when it is released in November.

  • Hello Vicki

    An interesting angle for Chanel. I know I’m going to get yelled at but I have never seen the attraction in Brad Pitt. He is an excellent actor but his looks do not appeal.

    I feel the product has mystique and should be left as such. I like the “don’t tell all” and mystery that surrounds such a winning item


  • Pamela RG says:

    Brilliant idea from Chanel. Two of my favourites together – Chanel No 5 and Brad Pitt.

    • Vicki says:

      It seems that we all love Brad Pitt but we aren’t convinced he belongs with Chanel… but that’s the clever part… we are all talking about Chanel No 5 on a Wednesday… all over the world… sharing our opinions… Who would have thought?

  • Jayne says:

    Who ever conceived this advertising campaign is brilliant , not only are we discussing it , but every news & current affairs program has featured it. I would be happy to wear my Chanel no 5 for Mr Pitt, as long as my husband didn’t mind!!!

    • Vicki says:

      Perhaps that’s what they figured on… clever little things…
      I would be happy to wear Chanel No 5 for Mr Pitt… even if mine did mind!! :)

  • Anita Rivera says:

    I THINK the idea is brilliant because NOVELTY keeps our minds awake and seeking what is behind the NEW angle. Although I adore Brad Pitt for his acting abilities, I still see him as a boy, no matter how old he grows. That is just MY TASTE, but I would have chosen an unknown, GORGEOUS older man. But the idea? WHAT A GRAND ONE. The fragrance is still the same, the packaging as well…I think it would be a total disaster if the PACKAGING, the bottle would have been altered. But to put a MAN as the spokesperson? FABULOUS, because after all, isn’t that who we women are doing this for anyway? Just my thought! Anita

    • Vicki says:

      Perhaps this is the problem… it’s not the concept of a man as the face of a fragrance but rather that we aren’t convinced that Pitt is the right guy…

  • Marsi says:

    It’s ridiculous, imo. Brad Pitt’s day as a god is over. If he were ever to be a Chanel spokesperson, it should’ve been when he was with Jennifer Aniston and they were the most glorious-looking golden couple ever. Now he looked like he’s been dragged through a hedge backward — over and over for the past seven or eight years. Plus, he’s allegedly not terribly bright, so how could that be considered alluring? Finally, his reputation for stinking of BO is pretty well established, and it’s an association I’d just as soon not have with the glory of Chanel No. 5. Why can’t we just go back to the beautiful ads, like, “I am made of blue sky and golden light, and I will feel this way for ever. Share the fantasy. Chanel No. 5.” Those were the days.

  • Jane says:

    I had not seen it until I watched it here. My opinion is much like yours. He is always nice to look at…but. Maybe it is just the commercial is all wrong? Wouldn’t it be more powerful if he just looked you in the eye?

  • I think I agree with most of your readers…it misses the mark. A man talking about women’s parfume without any woman present – is strange. To me Chanel is more about how a woman feels when she wears it – scents create an image. Yes, Brad Pitt is lovely to look at…but for me this doesn’t work.

    • Vicki says:

      They have introduced a female in the next add… which makes it slightly more relevant… but not their best I think…

  • No sense at all – I was drawn into his monologue and thought it was about something like world peace, something incredibly important enough to stop everyone in the room and when it showed the Chanel No 5 (which is one of my perfumes) I thought at first it was a new men’s edition. But everyone in the room thought it over the top. Now George Clooney and Nescafe – that’s relevant and beautifully written and directed. This ad makes him look out of place and the perfume irrelevant.

    • Vicki says:

      Yes the relationship between the director and the product is unusual… Joe Wright is such a brilliant director and normally so lavish in his work… this seems all and all too ‘plain’ ..

  • Al says:

    Very different approach for Chanel. Was not expecting Brad to be partnered with them. I think they are trying to reach a much younger demographic, than the one that typically purchases their products. Only increased sales, will prove if this campaign is a success. -Al

  • Melinda Bennett says:

    Just not great all the way around. Acting, staging, clothes, too stark. He looks like he needs his meds. This is not what I call a great ad at all. Chanel, pull it and get back to the drawing board and quick. Vicki adore you blog and updates. Can hardly get anything done as I am reading blogs all day.
    Love Melinda

  • Sandy says:

    I LOVE the print ad – it makes you feel like if you wear Chanel No. 5, Brad will be waiting for you. I just don’t quite get the video ad – Brad doesn’t even look that good. I DO love Chanel, though! Thanks for sharing!

    PS…Kathy – I was just telling my husband – as much as I love Brad, I think George Clooney is better looking!!!

  • Cynthia says:

    I will have to see if grows on me, I think maybe someone else.


  • Julia says:

    Brad Pitt looks great in the still, in black tie, saying more with his look in the silence than he does in the absurd, think laughably foolish, clip.

  • Ida-Sue says:

    So not clever! A true “legend” has no need to change “point of view” or anything – if indeed “it” is a “legend”! :)

  • Whew, worked for me! I guess I am alone on that one. And as Le Pitt is a very fine actor, not only a gorgeous face (and holy cow that voice!)–not to mention that Joe Wright is one of our finest directors today–however he has chosen to appear is intentional. What others have seen as awkwardness, I see as a slight touch of fear in his eyes, one that is perfect with the essence of what he is trying to suggest…seduction.

    Is it Vanessa swinging in a bird cage or Carole Bouquet diving through the pool? Not at all. But those ads would seem hopelessly out of touch with today too…

    That is my point of view and I am sticking with it! ;)

    • Vicki says:

      Love to hear an alternative Heather… and Pitt is a hunk there is no denying that… My only thought is this… If those older ‘pretty’ adds with the gorgeous femme fatales are out of date then why didn’t Chanel choose a younger ‘icon’.. Pitt is nearly 50… albeit an incredibly ‘fit’ one.. as my girls would say… But why not someone of this generation… who is truly representative of today…?? Just a thought…

      • Because an icon deserves an icon! Seriously, as gorgeous as say Ryan Reynolds is, it isn’t the same thing at all, isn’t it? I don’t know but in your daily dispatch today you gave us a dose of the real thing and Brad Pitt, whether you like him or not (and I must say that I am not really a fan), is that.

        As a final point, one I thought of just after hitting “reply” is that although I know that Chanel °5 doesn’t stay on my redhead skin, I was interested in giving it another try, so…Mission Accomplie!

  • Mary says:

    Oh Vicki, I could never get excited over this long-loved fragrance presented in this creepy way! He is such an untidy looking character these days, and he certainly doesn’t do much with the ridiculous delivery of the verbiage someone penned.

    No, if I was younger and just starting a search for ‘my forever fragrance’, this would turn me off. But, as you say, perhaps Chanel is trying something new – can they be that desperate though? Let’s face it, there are much better looking/elegant men (especially Frenchmen!) whom I could rest my eyes on………..and then perhaps go forth and splurge big bucks on a Chanel perfume!

    Mary XOX

    • Vicki says:

      Yes…Why wouldn’t they choose a gorgeous French guy… there are plenty? That is interesting… then I think we women would swoon with the accent… even the dialogue would sound better…:)

  • Vicki,
    Well, Brad is definitely fun to watch but I’m not sure it would entice me to buy the classic perfume. It will be interesting to hear how it goes.

    • Vicki says:

      YEs.. I hope we do find out whether the ads are successful or not… They have sparked our conversation though… and i like that… :)

  • Beryl says:

    I liked what Pamela said about how to save this ad campaign. But I’m not sure even that would work. I think he was awful and bears no resemblance to the Brad Pitt we used to swoon over. It was all I could do not to run to my cabinet and throw out all my beloved Chanel nail polish.

  • david terry says:

    Oh?….in a word (or three?)?…..


    I (and I happen to be a man)COMPLETELY disagree with the President of chanel’s statement that “perfume is a seduction between a man, a woman, and a perfume”.

    I’m being serious here…..I don’t know of a single man (at least a heterosexual one) who really wants to know or name that whatever-it-is that attracts him to a particular woman.

    Men like “mystery” in a woman….they don’t want to know (or hear, for that matter) about what designer/brand made the clothes, or the cosmetics, or the perfume. In my experience, a heterosexual man enjoys wondering “What IS it about her?…I can’t figure it out…” (and the subsequent, if not necessarily true, sensation that he is the first person to have “discovered” her).

    Trust me…..just a year or so ago, two folks (man and woman) met at a party at my house….and one of the most interesting/charming moments I’ve witnessed in a long time occurred when he asked her (and, despite being a formidable corporate lawyer, she’s a southern-gril, through and through)”What’s that perfume you’re wearing…it’s wonderful…”….

    and she smiled and replied “I’m not going to tell you THAT!…what a question!…!”…and she smiled again….

    I gather that they had “lunch” the next week, and I know that they’ve been dating steadily ever since then. Both are in their forties, anbd both were previously married, long ago.

    In any case (and in my obviously limited and parochial experience), men are attracted to women who keep their “little secrets” to themselves. Even these days (with Kardashian-Klones relentlessly branding themselves and the products-they-endorse EVERYWHERE), it seems evident to me that men are attracted to women who dress for themselves (and, yes, sometimes for other women)…and who retain that certain je-ne-sais-quoi air of “mystery”.

    Personally?….I watched that ad and wondered if this was the first time Brad Pitt has ever played a gay man (for those who don’t know me…let me just give a hint by saying that it takes one to know one…and, yes, a certain sort of gay BFF will ask you what brand of perfume you’re wearing, where you bought it, etcetera…he’ll probably even dab a bit on himself while he’s busy delving into your shopping-habits).

    So…I don’t know what demographic this ad is supposed to attract. Presumably, that would be an audience of younger females who are still markedly insecure and buy things to please potential (at most) boyfriends rather than themselves.

    Catherine Deneuve (whom I’ve known for years and who’s nobody’s fool when it comes to “marketing” an image) was perfect for Chanel #5 (recall that the American ads featuring Catherine began appearing in competition with those ads for another best-seller, “Charlie”…which featured a hyper-vivacious Shelley Hack going around NYC and grabbing the attention of various men!).

    By contrast, Catherine’s Chanel #5 ads quite simply emphasized that this was something she wore for HERSELF, as she ran her hands through her own beautiful hair and looked cooly and self-possessedly back at the camera. The “message” was that chanel #5 was something a woman bought for her own, “inner”, private self….

    Just for the record?….my mother (who was initially raised for 13 years in an orphanage in East Tennessee, where “fashion” was scarcely a dominating concern) wears nothing but Chanel #5….at least for as long as I’ve known her (which would be 51 years as of next June). I always pick it up for her when Herve and I are in France. She’s remarked that she often forgets to put on any perfume before she and my father “go out” to some public function…..but she’s also remarked that, sometimes, she (and she’s never worked outside the home) just dabs a bit on during the daytime.

    Level Best as Ever,

    david Terry

    • Vicki says:

      David Terry… i love that you are a ‘matchmaker’… and I adore that response your southern belle came up with…
      I agree that Catherine Deneuve exemplified Chanel and what it is that we women feel about perfume… and I also believe that ‘mystery’ as you call it is imperative in relationships… Some things are just meant to be secret…:)

  • hopflower says:

    I am not too impressed. I am not a fan of Brad Pitt, really; but he and Chanel#5 do not make sense even if I were a devotee. He rambles on and is not the type of man who would, to me, represent Chanel.

  • Kathy Peck Leeds says:

    I think the idea of a man advertising a women’s fragrance is very sexy. Brilliant move on Chanel’s part and I bet it brings a whole new group of women (younger, etc.) to try the fragrance.

  • Too awkward! They should have used Brad and Angelina and that chemistry those two seem to have. Now that would make sense. Fun question Vicki. xx

  • Marilyn says:

    Not buying it, the ad that is. . .perhaps in a tux, but a non-ironed shirt, old man beard and too smooth face, even Mr Pitt can’t make the ad copy sound dreamy. Just glad that Angelina didn’t show up. But I still love my Chanel 5

  • Non, non, non! Not Brad Pitt, and NOT on a video. I tried twice and could not bear to watch it… Give us back a woman to advertise for the iconic fragrance, and if you MUST have a man, then I guess, Brad’s most excellent friend George Clooney would be a much better pick! For crying out loud, George can talk about COFFEE and still sound sexy. I know he would have done better with those terrible lines in the script… Sorry, Brad. Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

  • Vicki,
    I really think they are trying to be different and appeal to a younger generation. There is a lot of competition out there … it can be hard even for Chanel 5. Maybe their sales are down … maybe women are gravitating towards new perfume designers.
    I love the ad … I think it’s fresh, different, and modern.

  • Nicole says:

    It may have sounded good in principle, but it comes out looking contrived and lame on film. Pretty bad in fact.

    It won’t change the fact that Chanel no. 5 is my top perfume and I will keep wearing it and buy it, and think of it as iconic and classic.

    Perhaps we just need to turn the sound off when the ad comes on, lol!

  • Laurence says:

    It is Audrey Tautou, not Tatou

  • Gretchen says:

    Brad Pitt for Coromandel or Cuir de Russie, perhaps, but No. 5? It doesn’t work. It seems to be trying too hard, and I don’t believe a younger generation will ever buy into this type of marketing. Chanel will never lose customers, they are far too iconic, but this ad campaign is one of their sillier concepts.

    • Vicki says:

      Maybe if Chanel were going to reinvent themselves and appeal to a different generation… they should have chosen a much younger celebrity?

      • Gretchen says:

        The biggest challenge is that most people believe Chanel is for when one has attained a certain level of financial and social status, and No. 5 is their mother’s, or grandmother’s, perfume, granting it “old lady” connotations. The younger women fall for the ubiquitous fruity-floral-patchouli bombs, and have little patience for classical fragrances. An ad campaign with a -soon-to-be-50-year old man won’t cut it if Chanel wants to woo these customers, especially when Kim Kardashian is considered a style icon.

        • Vicki says:

          Don’t get me started on Kim Kardashian….:)

          • david terry says:

            hmmmmm…..recalling my earlier response, it occurs to me that Miss Kardashian (I gather that she’s currently a “miss” once again and for at least a little while to come) has worked some nerves among this crowd.


            David Terry

  • manya says:

    I would have preferred George Clooney or Clive Owen – In my opinion Brat Pitt isn’t the right person for Chanel, especially with the long hair.

  • Lynne says:

    Keep Hollywood away from my Chanel. I am 60 years old. My grandmother wore Chanel No 5. I would gaze at the bottle on her dressing table. It evoked French elegance. It made me dream about visiting Paris when I was 7 years old.

    I have worn 19, 22, Christalle, and most recently, the Chance collection.

    Fragrance is a feeling…a wrapping.
    Vicki, you wrapped a bottle of Route du The’ for me when you told a story. It was the first time in my life that I purchased a fragrance without sampling. Perhaps Chanel should hire you.

  • Elle says:

    I think this is an epic fail for the Chanel marketing department. I like Brad – he’s a great guy, but not the face of Chanel.

  • Jenny says:

    Like other commenters, I’m digging the print ad more than the video. But, in truth, both ads are screaming “Calvin Klein” in terms of styling and artful randomness, not “Chanel.”

    To me, classic Chanel ads carry a narrative, and there’s none of that here. As an actor, Brad Pitt knows how to help that along in movies, so why can’t they each play to their strengths in this?

    I really hope Chanel is taking a long view on their “investment” because this installment just isn’t doing it for me.

  • OK-I loved it! enough said out of me.

  • Jenny says:

    Btw, the Audrey Tautou ad for Chanel No. 5 is a brilliant example of the “filmvertising” that should have been done with Brad Pitt — there’s a clear Chanel message paired with a wonderful narrative that isn’t too “riche” for its own good.

    • Vicki says:

      Everything is about video these days… and I guess saying something and selling a concept in a couple of minutes is a tough call… I do like the videos that tell a small tale… There was a brilliant one from Cartier a year or so ago… with the Panther… it was amazing… and to the point…

    • Julia says:

      Agree, Jenny, the Audrey Tautou piece is alluring. The one featuring Nicole Kidman and one of the most quietly seductive men alive, Rodrigo Santoro, creates a mystery, and sells the perfume.

      Keira Knightley did a great ad for Coco, which is, like the other two cited, engaging.

      Yes, Vicki, the Cartier ad is brilliant.

  • Judith says:

    He isn’t in the same ‘class’ as Chanel. Didn’t find this ad inspiring or believable.

  • La Contessa says:

    I do think CHANEL has been VERY clever!Most likely it will work!Sales will tell………..

  • La Contessa says:

    I havenot watched the VIDEO before I commented……………will do later as IM TARDY!

  • Laurie Lyon says:

    I love this. It is risky to be sure, but I feel the promo is expansive – love the words “my luck”, ” my fate”, “inevitable.”

    It would be nice to have a profile shot of Coco Chanel.

    I think it is smart for Chanel to be adventurous with their advertising, yet still embrace the classic aura around the brand.

  • Karena says:

    Vicki, as many others I believe Chanel is reaching out to a younger, hip crowd with money.

    I have worn Chanel # 5 forever; just received a bottle for my birthday in fact. Personally I have associated it with elegance, grace, a classic.

    I would have made a different choice; I would bet it will bring in new buyers and possibly bring back women who used to wear it!

    2012 Artists Series

  • Kathleen says:

    Much as I love to gaze upon Brad, I think this ad is a big miss. It rings false altogether – & I do wish he’d get a haircut & a shave. Mind you, nothing could induce me to buy the perfume that made me sick for years, surrounded by it’s fumes & all the Good Ladies of the Congregation when I was a kid.

  • Victoria says:

    My very favourite perfume. But I just don’t like this commercial and I don’t like Brad in it (particularly with the long hair), even though he is still on my ‘hot men’ list!

  • Vicki-
    The first time I saw it, I was left scratching my head,and I can’t say my thoughts have improved drastically. Brad Pitt is definitely great eye candy, but I would question Chanel’s reasoning here. Just my thoughts.
    As for Chanel No. 5, I have always loved it, and I always will.
    Happy Wednesday.

  • Vanna says:

    Oh poor Brad… (Good thing he’s a hottie *winks*)it’s a train wreck! Kind of reminds me of the horrible used car commercials with the guy standing on his head to make a deal in the 80’s lol! Awful yes, but they also stuck in your head like a bad migraine. Maybe that was Chanels intention? I completely agree with David. Women wear perfume to please themselves. This ad made me feel uncomfortable….it felt awkward and the dialogue inane. It’s so important how an ad makes you “feel” And this one made me feel embarrassed for Brad.*winks* Vanna

  • Cynthia says:

    I am not a Brad Pitt fan. I understand Chanel wanting to change to a fresher point of view, but I think it could have been done with some sophistication, which, Brad does not represent. There are far too many other men out there who could have been representative of Chanel, and they did not necessarily have to be an actor. I too cringed when I saw it, and as another reader said it looks more like a Ralph Lauren ad, than the iconic ads of Chanel. A big NO from me.

    • Vicki says:

      Perhaps that would have been the answer… to have an unknown… I still like the idea of a Frenchman in the role… if Chanel wishes to have a masculine ‘face’… :)

  • Gigi says:

    I love looking at Brad..but something just isn’t working for me with the advertisement..I’m not sure if it is too ‘cheesy’ or …his hair is too long!..but something isn’t right!

  • Jacqueline says:

    I have already seen it Vicki and I don’t really like it ….. and, I’m a big Brad Pitt fan. I think that they are just trying to do something different and it hasn’t paid off …… but then, what do I know !!!! XXXX

  • Claudia says:

    This doesn’t work on so many levels. I agree with many of the previous comments. Brad Pitt is nice looking, but here he’s too scruffy for Chanel. As a woman, I relate better to another woman being the face of a perfume. If there had been some shots of a woman and some semblance of a story, it might have made more sense. But what is he talking about? And he doesn’t deliver his lines well (but I don’t care much for his acting). I don’t wear Chanel No. 5, but if I did, I would be even more disappointed in this new branding campaign than I am.

    • Vicki says:

      I don’t think I ever watch ‘videos’ to buy… but I do enjoy the creativity they offer… the glimpse into an artistic mind and the beauty they provide… the unreality if you like… the escapism… This new one has none of those elements…

      • Tammy says:

        Talk about terrible! Brad Pitt does nothing for me in this video. He’s not believable at all. He should have stayed as a still shot in the tux. That was nice, but other than I just don’t get what Chanel was going for.

  • Brenda says:

    I didn’t like it. I’m a huge fan of Chanel No. 5 to point that people tell me that they think of me when they smell it. I’m also a fan of Mr Pitts but seeing Brad advertising this perfume was strange – not in a good way. If anything it puts me off.

  • Karen in CT says:

    .. wow, so far 132 comments over Brad Pitt … Vicki, you struck a nerve again! I think the idea of Brad Pitt and a perfume is silly, but who cares. Good job, Karen in CT

  • Sheila says:

    Not my favorite commercial. Although, love Brad, just not quite right, but we certainly are talking about channel…

  • Great discussion!
    Personally I think he looks a little dishevilled and I find the dialogue comes across wrong in some way. Particularly when he says “Chanel No. 5… inevitable”. Just sits the wrong way. The second advert with women is better but still not there. It doesn’t grab me and make me want to buy the perfume.

  • Andi says:

    Thanks for sharing, I had missed this and it is very intriguing! I am not totally sure how I feel about it….

  • Tracy says:

    Chanel No. 5 is my signature fragrance. The young Brad Pitt (back in the Jennifer Aniston era) was almost too beautiful to be real. Now he looks like a homeless person dressed in a tuxedo. He is repulsive on purpose for some strange reason.

  • Katherine says:

    I want to take the sign from the fort in the yard and send it off to the decision makers at Chanel. You know the sign………. the one that reads ‘NO boys allowed’.
    Seriously – I want feminine, over-the-top-couture-induced, Cinderella style commercials for the iconic fragrances that I adore.

  • pve says:

    Sorry, Is there something wrong with me? Where is the romance? Even in my middle ages, I can find the allure of a well dressed gentleman. But nothing turns me on in fact this is a major turn off.
    I find nothing remotely attractive about this. I want to scrub him, shave him and douse him in a nice scent and put something a bit more formal on him. After all Chanel no. 5 deserves that, a tux and then I would make him practice his lines again to sound more convincing.
    There needs to be music.
    Coco must be turning over in her quilted box.
    I’d love Maurice Chevalier or someone with a french accent.
    Please, I am not ignorant – don’t insult it Mr. Pitt.

  • Irene says:

    Hey there, I saw the ad for the first time this week and wasn’t convinced. Brad Pitt is a big star but surely it takes more than a pretty face to persuade. While we all hope that our man loves our individual scent that’s not the only – or even the primary – reason we use Chanel or other parfum.

    Best wishes to everyone x

  • Teddee Grace says:

    Maybe…if he would cut and shampoo.

  • Elle says:

    Putting aside the controversy over Pitt being the *new face* of Chanel #5, he has also hurt himself. The script and delivery are abysmal. It highlights the fact that he’s a mediocre actor. Nothing personal about Pitt, I adore him for all his philanthropic work, but he did himself a disservice on this one. I suppose at the end of the day, he doesn’t much care :)

  • I respect Brad as an actor and for all his good works….but I WILL NOT buy ANY feminine product pitched by a man. (Esp a rather scruffy looking one).

    I like their Coco or Chance perfumes but tend to stick with Tiffany’s signature fragrance. If Tiffany hires a male pitch person for perfume etc–I’ll drop that too.

    I’m rather sick of men screwing up the world. And why take a woman’s job away and give it to a very wealthy man.

    Chanel, I have plenty of options and choices, and you just caused me to make one.

  • MfB says:

    I like the tux look more than the causal look. Thanks for posting the photos and feel free to drop by me too when you have time.

  • Gina says:

    No one and I mean no one can do it like deneuve. Maybe brad can pull it off when he’s 75. The girl with the necklace hanging down her beautiful back is what makes me want to purchase it.

  • Debbie says:


    I didn’t quite like it and I had to think about why….?
    It lacked the glamour that Chanel is known for. The pic of Brad in dinner suit, glass in hand is good so why not use that in the movie? Or did they and I missed it? His hair looked a bit wonky too.
    Brad searching for a gorgeous women he glimpsed and he noticed was wearing Chanel No5 whilst at a formal function, but we never see her face, then she is seen staying at same hotel (Ritz) as Brad. Their rooms are on the same floor, their paths cross but they don’t see each other, they stand on window balconies looking gorgeous in their expensive clothes, with flowing curtains in background but don’t see each other. The bottle of Chanel is seen on the dressing table and it’s a mystery whether they actually get together or not. Then Brad talks about Chanel No5.
    I love the romance and glamour previous Chanel advertising had.

  • Sally says:

    I think this approach is original and this gives the advert an edge. The first one, unfortunately, he looks away when he says “my luck, my fate, my fortune” and this makes it unconvincing. Ruins the entire ad. In the second advert he is only a voice over for these words and then comes back at the end looking directly at the camera and seals the deal with his final word. Its good and quirky, I would buy Chanel No 5.

  • DeniseAngela says:

    Found your lovely blog through a link on Carla’s blog & I feel maybe it was a controversy the Chanel marketing department intended. I mean Brad…Chanel? It is so different that I actually like it!

  • Mary Lou says:

    I’m not really digging it, not the least of which is because I prefer a cleaner groomed look on a gentleman…well styled, clean, shorter hair and clean shaven in Brad’s case. Similarly for the casual look, plus clothes that look fresh.

  • Debbie says:


    Seriously, I think the only way it could have worked with Brad is if he didn’t speak or if he only had one line to say. Even then there would need to be a gorgeous women seen sitting in a cafe, standing on a balcony (her face isnt’t shown) but her lovely long legs and shiny hair is, whilst she is wearing beautiful clothes.
    Brad should be dressed up to and he’s had a hair cut, standing on a balcony where he says one line only. The way it’s done now it’s a joke.

  • Irina says:

    My goodness…what a discussion! :) All in the name of perfume!
    You know, I have to agree with Anita, that a new, unexpected approach can be brilliant….and I think I understand where Chanel is coming from. BUT….hee…as much as I find Brad undeniably sexy…he is not sexy in a No.5 sort of way. Not to me, anyway…too sporty, too casual. I see Olivier Martinez here, perhaps…
    Just watched part 2. Not much better :)
    But it has created a huge buzz, hasn’t it?
    Fun to read the comments…so much passion!
    A beautiful day to you, chere Vicki!

  • Catherine says:

    Not a fan. Love Chanel No 5. My mother wore it and i love it and wear it too. Just my opinion.

  • Jacqui says:

    Quite frankly, I LOVE it!!

  • Karen in CT says:

    … Vicki … flash, this ad is all over the news in the states … so on some level, many must find it interesting. I haven’t listened, just caught glimpses .. BUT a quick search of “you tube” will show you all kinds of Chanel No 5 Brad Pitt spoofs. Well done !!!!

  • Pamela says:

    Dear Vicki
    Today in David Jones perfume department I noticed the Brad Pitt picture alongside the Chanel perfumes and remarked to the manager and another staff member (both of whom I know well as a frequent shopper there) “Oh, I see you have the Brad Pitt picture”. I made no other comment for or against before they rushed in to tell me that all their other customers say they hate the Brad Pitt advertisement. They’ve apparently received a lot of feedback from customers, all of it extremely negative, eg “it’s a travesty”. Interesting to hear given all the cyber comments above.
    I already love both Chanel 5 and 19 so the Brad Pitt thing hasn’t swayed me at all. But according to DJs it’s put quite a few off.
    Best wishes, Pamela

  • Kaaren says:

    I love Chanel No 5! It always makes me feel glamorous. I just think the simpleness of the bottle and smell is exquisite. Using Brad is very clever advertising…I prefer the add to the video. A man in a suit and bowtie so gorgeous. Maybe Oliver Martinez would have been better as he is a Frenchman . We have a television program in Austrlia that looks at advertising called the Gruen Transfer a fantastic show I am wondering if they will discuss this video on their show. But Vicki, on my Xmas wish list this year I am hoping to receive a favourite of yours Gerlain Shalimar (hope I have spelt it correctly). After reading your blog I went looking for it in Brisbane – finally found it in a Chemist in New Farm DIVINE bottle I can just see it on my bed side table.

  • Nella says:

    Dear Vicki, I am late to this party ! It had me giggling….sorry! Not right for just lacked credibility or association to Mr Pitt…and I have always loved No.5 since I was a teen! N.xo

  • lylah ledner says:

    Doesn’t quite work for me and Chanel 5 is my signature farm touch.
    xo lylah

  • Elizabeth says:

    My first thought was…is this a joke??! Brad Pitt and Chanel? He appears so awkward, so wooden, so uncomfortable, so stilted. Where is the romance that is Chanel perfume? What a bust!

  • Linda says:

    I have used Chanel perfumes for over 20 years and this advertisement did not make me want to purchase the perfume nor did it make me feel feminine and pretty, in fact, it kinda did the opposite. I’m encouraged more by the feminine and elegant advertisements.

  • Karen says:

    …but the commercial did the job — here we are all talking about it, right? Exactly what they wanted.

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