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Chanel No. 5: A Mini Movie

Posted by Rosepixie on May 19, 2010

This ad is from several years ago (2004, I believe), but it’s a little different and was a pretty big deal when it came out, so I wanted to talk a little about it.  It’s for Chanel No. 5, a very famous perfume, and was directed by Baz Luhrmann and starring Nicole Kidman.

I found this ad to be kind of intriguing when it first came out.  It’s basically a three minute movie.  The story is simple, as it would have to be for such a short time span, but the film doesn’t feel that simple.  There are interesting elements from the costuming to the sets.

Throughout it all, however, you can never forget that it’s an ad for Chanel.  It may be a short movie, but this is more than just product placement – the brand is literally at the center of the action.  And yet it’s never mentioned by name.  No one ever says “Chanel”.  It’s right there in big, lit-up letters, but never spoken.  We know the ad is specifically for Chanel No. 5 perfume only because of the reference to “her perfume” in the voiceover as the camera zooms in on the diamond charm on the back of Kidman’s gown, which reads “No. 5”.

So even though it’s never said specifically out loud, there’s really never any question what this is an ad for (or even that it is an ad).  That coyness works in this instance, it helps to associate the product with the glamor and mystery that Kidman is evoking throughout the mini-movie ad.  And, presumably, the company is hoping that we, as consumers, will be more interested in the perfume because of those associations.  We’ll think that it’s the kind of perfume we should wear when we want to feel glamorous and mysterious.

And maybe it is.  After all, Chanel No. 5 has managed to maintain it’s status as an important player in the perfume industry for almost ninety years – no easy feat!


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