Archive | September, 2011

Bleu De Chanel – Be unexpected and/or a Sex Offender

7 Sep

I’ve always had trouble understanding television adverts for fragrances. Many of the more modern adverts follow a very similar basic formula – beautiful man/woman looks expressively into the camera and/or the eyes of another beautiful man/woman while random words/sentences are whispered by a voiceover (See: Brad Pitt). These words or phrases can be quite literally anything, and certainly don’t have to relate in any way to perfume. The whole process will supposedly lead the audience into believing that the product is classy, poetic, cool and most of all, expensive.

While there are simply too many fragrance adverts out at the minute to really comment on, two in particular have caught my eye this year seeing as they have left me completely baffled. The first is from Bleu De Chanel and boasts Martin Scorsese as its director. The second, I’ll discuss in another post  as there is a colossal amount to ponder over here.

Bleu De Chanel begins with French actor Gaspard Ulliel angrily charging through a film set chasing an unknown and presumably scared woman. He’s cool alright! But wait, he is now in a blue room full of journalists with the footage of this projected behind him. Next, we witness him at a dinner table with another lady who looks physically sick at having to be there. This doesn’t stop our man Gaspard though! Within seconds he’s leaning towards her in a threatening vampire like fashion. The action then cuts to Gaspard with a camera taking pictures of the woman he was chasing earlier through windows, bars, her bathroom (!) and even a few while he’s lying on top of her which adds evidence to this suspicion that he could well be a rapist. Is this part of the film, or is he doing this in his spare time? It doesn’t matter, it’s cool!

But hang on, maybe it’s all about to blow up. We cut back to our criminal hero who is about to get a severe grilling from the press about the fucked up stuff he’s been doing. But there are no questions. Just a look from his chased victim, who as luck would have it, seems to have been an undercover journalist all along. Knowing he’s rumbled, Gaspard prepares to speak. “I’m not going to be the person I’m expected to be anymore” he sneers, before walking off with the room destroying itself around him.

To my astonishment, the advert ends here – a voiceover telling us we should be unexpected, just like this chap. While I have no reason to doubt that Gaspard is indeed ‘unexpected’, the overall message of this advert is, frankly,  bizarre. What I can gather from it is this – “if you’re a man/vampire who chases women, pins them down and takes lurid photos of them as they struggle, make sure you wear Bleu De Chanel, as this will make this behaviour  ‘unexpected’ rather than ‘criminal’.  You’ll go scot free! Even if it is in all the newspapers the next morning!”

Martin Scorsese is a vocal fan of the 1960 masterpiece “Peeping Tom” and it looks as if this was his inspiration for this advert given the camera and the overall creepy disposition. However,  I struggle to find a reason as to why he thought a Mark Lewis character was suitable to sell men’s rose petal water other than he knew he could get away with it – “I’m Martin Scorsese for fuck’s sake” he thought,  “No one at Chanel’s marketing department is going to question me”.

Chanel, and companies like it, seem to let anything go when it comes to their adverts – none of them make sense anyway so why not have a sex fiend as your leading man? As long as he looks cool, he could be Ian Huntley for all it matters – perfume will not judge you! Unless you’re ugly, obviously.

Scorsese therefore can only be taking the piss out of Chanel. Oh how he must delight in telling his buddies Rob De Niro and Leo Di Caprio about how he managed to get Coco to pay him a shitload of cash to make a commercial for what is essentially ‘Rapist’s Choice – Blue Flavour”.  “Oh Marty, you’re so unexpected” they’ll no doubt say. Well, I’m on to you Scorsese!