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A New Take on an Old Classic
By: Casey Schoelen
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Some may have seen the newest commercials for Chanel’s popular and long-standing scent, No. 5, and were excited. Or surprised. Or just confused. Brad Pitt has done plenty to prove himself as versatile, but being the front man for a woman’s fragrance is new, even for him. As the new face of this iconic brand, he brings a distinctly different viewpoint.
This fall, Chanel is pushing No. 5 in a new and simplistic way: black and white, Brad Pitt, and a voice over. No leading lady exuding confidence for viewers to attribute to the fragrance. No dashing beau chasing after her being captivated by a scent he must have. Instead, Brad Pitt, the first male to represent the product, tells viewers how every journey ends but Chanel No. 5 lasts. Supposedly, every 30 seconds someone in the world buys a bottle of No. 5, so there could be room to buy into this idea. The second advertisement in the series does include two women joining the scene, although they do not have speaking parts, which continues the lack of product details being presented to viewers. Overall, the campaign has made a splash and was quickly a feature parody on Saturday Night Live. People are definitely talking, but will it sell more fragrance? Doubtful.
Although Brad Pitt as a spokesperson exemplifies similar values of the No. 5 brand, there is still a brand disconnect with the target audience. It’s missing the emotional connection. For women, a chosen fragrance says something about her. It makes her feel a certain way. Brad Pitt’s sultry voice sounds nice, but doesn’t convey how No. 5 will make a woman feel while wearing it. It doesn’t create the demand for a consumer to go out and purchase it, because the audience doesn’t know what benefits they will receive for wearing No. 5.
There is always a risk doing something new and different. Companies can raise the bar or fall flat. With the style and over-embellished drama of the new commercials, Chanel may have missed the mark. The ads are somewhat confusing and equally hard to take seriously, like any minute Brad Pitt is about start laughing…or cry…or something! Whatever the goal, he is $7 million richer and at least the audience could probably at least remember what Brad Pitt was selling: Chanel No. 5. That is at least something worth celebrating.

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About the Author
Casey Schoelen is a young millennial excited and passionate about branding, advertising, and marketing. She is also a Nashville-native who loves traveling, reading the NYT, and watching sports.
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