an Ad a Day

A look at the marketing that surrounds us.

Chanel Coco Mademoiselle: Not so Elegant

Posted by Rosepixie on May 26, 2010

This is a magazine ad for Chanel Coco Mademoiselle, a perfume.

Chanel is a very famous French fashion line started by a very famous designer named Coco Chanel, so it makes sense for them to name one of their fragrances after their famous designer.  What I don’t understand is the image paired with the fragrance here.  Coco Chanel was famous for her simple elegance, which was something of a revelation to the fashion world.  She basically invented the “little black dress” and her suits were classic (updated versions of her suit designs are still staples of the fashion house’s offerings even today).  She’s legendary even beyond the fashion world (how many fashion designers have picture book biographies written of them?).

And no company is in a better position to evoke her memory than Chanel itself.  They could have put a model in one of their signature suits, so like the ones she wore but with a slight modern twist.  Or dressed one in a little black dress with strands of pearls.  Elegance and simplicity – modern and classic all in one perfectly tailored and accessorized package.

But they inexplicably chose to pair the fragrance named for this legendary designer with a nude model posing with a mens’ shirt draped across her lap and a mens’ hat clutched to her chest (oh, and jewels, because she’s clearly a high class girl).  I can’t figure it out.  It’s just about the last thing I would have chosen to evoke Coco.  Maybe a tree or a vampire bat would have been lower on the list, but this would be pretty far down.

The only explanation I can come up with is that they wanted to covey the idea of sex appeal and for some unknown reason the only way advertisers seem to know how to do that these days is through having naked (or mostly naked) girls in their ads.  And sometimes that works for the product, but part of advertising is matching the ads to the product and in that respect I think this particular ad fails spectacularly.  Sorry, Chanel, but this is not a perfume I’d buy based on this ad.  I’d love to feel like I have a little piece of Coco’s elegance, but if this is what that perfume evokes, it’s not going to help me with that goal.


3 Responses to “Chanel Coco Mademoiselle: Not so Elegant”

  1. Eva said

    I agree with you, that ad pretty much only says “mademoiselle” in a snickering undertone. I think it’s probably possible to look elegant _and_ sexy with just a shirt and bowler hat draped over you, but she looks more like a high class hooker (and one without much taste).

    I don’t think the extremely crude and sloppy use of ink on the previous page helps much. They could have gone with beautiful calligraphy, but apparently that’s too much work?

    • Rosepixie said

      Yeah, I wondered about the sloppy font on the first page too. I considered that maybe it’s reminiscent of Coco Chanel’s handwriting or something that I’m not familiar with, but if so, it’s too obscure a reference to really work.

  2. LondonGirl said

    Well I thought that because Coco mademoiselle was created for a younger audience, the Young woman in the advert is the type of woman that they are trying to sell it too. She’s young, independant, elegant and carefree. If you look at the first Coco Mademoiselle ad:

    you see her go up to a man and wipe her perfume on him. In the next ad:

    You see how she climbs out of the window at the last minute? In the first advert she is younger, but both of them show the same thing. These men think that she is theirs but she isnt. And the way she climbs out of the window in the second ad shows her teasing him. Thats why in the magazine ad she is pretty much naked. It shows the whole “You can look but dont touch” effect. It represents Coco Chanel because she was never a meek housewife was she? She would never have become someones belonging, she was her own person and that is what keira knightley is showing in the advert. xxx

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