Beyoncé's Heat fragrance commercial proving too hot for some

By T.L. Stanley on Thu Nov 18 2010

What could be better than launching a celebrity perfume with a splashy ad campaign just before Christmas? Having that ad banned by the TV standards police. Pop singer/actress Beyoncé Knowles stars in a smokin' hot commercial for her already strong-selling new cologne called Heat. (The spot sizzles, literally, with plumes and everything.) It's set against her version of the sultry standard "Fever." The U.K.'s Ad Standards Authority, whose members have apparently never seen a music video, deemed it too racy for airing during the day, when kids might see it, but OK for after 7:30 p.m. The product is rolling out internationally, and the ads are just seeing the light of day (or not) in some territories. The perfume's marketer, Coty, said the ad is "sexy chic," like its inspiration, and isn't "overtly graphic or explicitly sexual." And she's not nekked, folks, so settle down, Coty said. The bottom line is that the controversy is great free publicity, and Knowles has never looked more gorgeous. Women may want to know how they can get cleavage like that as much as they wonder how the perfume smells, but either way, they're thinking about Heat.

City of Beverly Hills markets own branded fragrances, cosmetics

By T.L. Stanley on Thu Oct 21 2010

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What would a perfume called Beverly Hills smell like? Some combination of new money, plastic-surgery waiting rooms and disdain for "the little people"? Just a guess. The jokes are almost too easy, with the Associated Press taking a fairly uncatty stab at it by dubbing the new fragrance line "9021-Eau." But the city may have the last laugh, since it's one of a handful of places that has an internationally known name and image, for better or worse. City leaders have a five-year goal of making $500,000 from the sale of three Beverly Hills-branded colognes and a still-to-debut cosmetic line. The first perfume will go on sale—retail price: $120—in January. Don't look for it at CVS. Bradford Licensing is handling the tony city's deals, which, depending on response, could fan out further. Drop us your own suggestions about what the conspicuous-consumption capital should do next. Beverly Hills Botox? Sure, why not?

Diesel smelling a fist full of dollars with its 'Iron Man 2' fragrance

Posted on Thu Apr 22 2010

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Wouldn't a Tony Stark cologne smell like some combination of Robert Downey Jr., wads of cash and a soldering iron? Fans can find out as Only The Brave: Iron Man Limited Edition debuts this month in department stores and boutiques via a deal between Marvel Entertainment and Diesel. The partners are supporting the licensed product launch with a dedicated website, downloadable video games and online contests. Packaging will probably stand out in the sedate fragrance aisle—it's a bright-red clenched fist, made to look like Stark's costumed, crime-fighting alter ego. (Diesel says it smells like "lemon blossom, mandarin and coriander leaves, a heart of labdanum, black rose and lavender, with a dry down of amber, tolu wood and ebony wood." Um, yeah.) The cologne is just one of a cavalcade of product tie-ins with Iron Man 2, opening May 7, expected to be a box-office monster on the scale of The Dark Knight. Audi, which has five cars placed in the action flick, recently launched its Iron Man 2 R8 Spyder sports-car commercial, and Burger King rolls out its Whiplash Whopper in a few days. Those join the Invincible Orange Slurpee already available at 7-Eleven, themed Dr Pepper cans and the Stark Motor Racing Team from promo partner Royal Purple motor oil. Stark may be the thinking man's superhero, but his franchise is turning out to be the marketing maven's holy grail.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Audrey Tatou's film for Chanel No. 5 offers plenty of life lessons

Posted on Thu May 7 2009

The bad news: It's like one of those French movies your wife drags you to. The good news: It's only 2 minutes and 20 seconds long. This latest Chanel No. 5 ad is a mini movie featuring a real actress (Audrey Tatou). She is first shown rushing to get on a train—a nice old restored one, by the looks of it. Certainly puts New Jersey Transit to shame. The next thing you know, she's peering out a window onto a hallway on the train when a handsome stranger walks by and—this is rather forward—leans in kissing-distance close to her and then walks away. Maybe she dreamed it? That night, Tatou is getting ready for bed in the bathroom, with her Chanel No. 5 handy, when a conductor barges in and asks for a passport. He knocks but doesn't give her time to react. That's sort of rude. What if she were "indisposed"? Anyway, that night on the train is a restless one. Tatou can't sleep, and the Handsome Stranger didn't even try, by the looks of it. He considers knocking on her door, but then stops himself. (If only the conductor had been as thoughtful.) Next stop, Istanbul. Tatou gets out, takes in the city a bit, and then goes on a boat ride. As she takes a few pictures of a passing boat, she looks in the camera's viewfinder and sees ... the Handsome Stranger. He was on that boat! The video concludes with the two finally meeting up in what looks like a train station, though it doesn't explain how they finally linked up. The moral: Seize the moment. Or always check your viewfinder. Or maybe take an Ambien or two before that night-train journey to Istanbul. Oh, and don't forget the Chanel No. 5.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Even for a fragrance ad, this Gucci spot is all kinds of ridiculous

Posted on Wed Apr 22 2009

Hinting that the perfume actually came from an Old Testament-style miracle, this TV spot for Gucci's Flora fragrance scales new levels of pretension. The model, who looks a bit like Helena Bonham Carter, sits in a field of flowers. Then, after leaning forward (which appears to take some effort for this waif), she sends a shockwave through the flowers, dominos-style, as an ethereal version of Donna Summer's "I Feel Love" plays. By the time the wind current circles back to its source, the woman, who now appears to be in the throes of ecstasy (the drug or the emotional state), rises up and appears to become a flower herself. The best part: the bored voiceover that languidly states, "Flora. By Gucci. A new fragrance." For whatever reason, this ad has become a hot video online, perhaps because, as one commenter notes, if you freeze it at the 15-second mark, it does look a bit like the goat-head pentagram. Where's the Christian right when you need them?

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Michelle Williams and Natalie Portman get greedy over perfume

Posted on Mon Feb 9 2009

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Perfume advertising is notoriously easy to parody. Still, this spoof commercial by the Italian artist Francesco Vezzoli is notable for the high-wattage talent involved: actresses Michelle Williams and Natalie Portman and director Roman Polanski. The fake perfume is called Greed, and the young honeys wordlessly wrestle over a bottle of it. Hair is pulled. Heads are thrown into floors. A gentleman caller arrives to resolve the dispute.
  According to Dazed Digital, Vezzoli "fully immersed himself into trying to answer the question of what it takes to attract people to a perfume and now to replicate the media build-up seen of a perfume campaign." Low-hanging fruit, but entertaining nonetheless.

—Posted by Tim Nudd


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