Brad Pitt Sells Us Some Chanel No. 5


As I discussed back in May, Brad Pitt has a bottle of Chanel No. 5 he'd like you to buy. The latest face of the iconic perfume is directed here by Atonement and Anna Karenina director Joe Wright. The elliptical script is provided by Glenn O'Brien, a veteran fashion and pop culture writer. So what are we all thinking about this latest No. 5 ad? I'll start. I find Brad's performance a bit...performancey. And almost like he's struggling to remember his lines. "My luck...my fate...my, uh...bus transfer? No, wait -- my theme tune...? No? Yes! I got this! My luck...my fate...my foreskin. Geez, that's a weird line for a perfume commercial. Uh, this is a perfume commercial, right?" While we're in the mood, let's enjoy a vintage No. 5 ad, Catherine Deneuve-style:


I kind of really love her here.

61 comments:

  1. Love Catherine. She was the Chanel I remember. Brad Pitt, at least in my opinion, is really cheapening this perfume...which is not what I once remember it being. Don't like it.

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    1. Brad just isn't convincing me that he *needs* me in Chanel No. 5...

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  2. where's the glamour ? i don't know why but this add makes me think of Chanel No.5 going scientology ..

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    1. "Chanel No.5 going scientology" Does that mean mechanical and soulless?

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  3. Yikes. It's way too spot on. It's like a parody of a perfume ad. I blame the text, too. Sorry to your friend, I'm sure she delivered what the client wanted. I blame them all!!!!!! Blame, blame, blame, blame. Blame. CD is amazing. She can't talk about feelings, but if she could, I suspect she'd talk about her negative feelings about the new ad.

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    1. "Blame, blame, blame, blame. Blame."

      It's the final "blame" - in its own sentence - that got me. That sealed the blame deal.

      I love it when Catherine says, "It's not important that I'm Catherine Deneuve." Imagine if Brad said, "It's not important that I'm Brad Pitt," in his ad? Which he wouldn't, because the whole point of the ad is that he's Brad Pitt.

      Hey! What if he'd said, "It's not important that I'm Catherine Deneuve"? That would've been fun.

      Wonder what perfume Angelina Jolie is wearing these days? I remember reading back in the Billy Bob Thornton era that she wore Kiehl's Coriander. That's one of those stealth cheap-but-nice perfumes...which I fear has been discontinued.

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  4. LOL its Brad Pitt girls, aren't you just supposed to swoon looking at him??? I think that is why they choose him. Just IMO!

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  5. Brad is lost, Chanel is lost, the lines do not make any sense in relation to perfume; at least I now understand where the idea for this odd monologue came from. Cybele

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  6. It does seem like a parody. It's hard not to laugh. He seems so serious, but it's fake-serious. And that furrowed brow...?

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  7. The whole thing is awful, and that "inevitable" especially grates on my last nerve. I can't blame Brad any more than everyone else associated with this - it looks as if they were ALL trying so hard to be cool that they ended up in Sad Hipsters territory. ~~nozknoz

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    1. EXACTLY! At first I thought he had some kind of palsy, and then I figured out that it was the lighting. ~~nozknoz

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  9. So they took a chance. Not sure it works for me, but I can't get too down on it. It doesn't make me want to throw the TV out the window like the Nicole Kidman "I LOVE to dance" travesty. And cheapen the perfume? Come on. Chanel did that already with the flankers and the EdP that isn't No. 5. I think they should bring back Ridley Scott.

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    1. I'm all for taking a chance. But if they're stripping away production values and keepin' it real this time around, then Brad needs to bring the charisma. It elicited just a shrug from me.

      Different brand/tone/audience I know, but I just had a look at Gaga's Fame ad:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=az1-oLmxhHQ

      So chicly ugly, so disturbingly glamorous. And satisfying because it matches Gaga's persona and the concept of her perfume.

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  10. You had to bring up Deneuve.... You must really hate Brad's video LOL

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  11. Crap script (pseudo-zen bollocks), crap acting (the bit where he begins to look around puzzled is so self-conscious and out of sync with the script that it makes me think of a filmed drama school audition), and crap direction (Pitt could have shot this with his webcam at home, and what is it with that mall portrait photographer backdrop: I'm just surprised they didn't use a fake bearskin rug to put him on). Chanel obviously got bored of being aspirational and now seeks to be pitied.

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    1. Yes! Mall portrait backdrop. I was thinking "high school graduation photo circa '91". It seems they were trying to go back to basics à la the Deneuve ad, away from the epic schmaltz of the Kidman and Tatou commercials.

      The tone here never quite gels, does it?

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    2. I think the opening lines of it being a journey and it not being a journey immediately irritate, and give the viewer the unpleasant feeling: Chanel was always into visual harmonics (of which the number 5 has related meaning in being the number from whose square root the golden ratio can be derived) so why create a text that is supposed to embody feelings related to that scent that immediately gives a sense of conflict? The more I look at perfume reviews and criticism the more I realise just how revealing what are supposed to objective (as well as subjective) opinions of scent are often much more revealing of the psychology of the critic than what's in the bottle, and that may well be the case here.

      I guess that's my answer to your question of the advert's tone not quite gelling: it needed a cleverer script, which didn't feel so at war with itself, especially if they wanted the stripped back style of the Deneuve advert (which is great). I find it hard to blame Brad Pitt for looking so awkward self-conscious in his delivery of something that just doesn't work, and could best be critically described as sounding like a poor imitation of Sylvia Plath.

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  12. Katie you post made me laugh to tears,loved it. Did you see the short film they called it (Chanel for the first time)before this add? Great film. I think the voice they used there was really all french & sophisticated, that video explain why they had A Man to shoot this add. Hessa

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    1. Give me a link - I'd like to see it.

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    2. http://youtu.be/tRQa33dqyxI

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    3. Thanks, that video was great!

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    4. Glad you liked it, that type of video would made me wanna wear NO.5 not the one with Brad !HESSA

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    5. Hessa, not only was that video fun and cute and informative, but educational! I learned what a "popliteal space" is.

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    6. There you go ;)

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    7. Katie,its Hessa they say this is the full story Part 2
      http://youtu.be/9UvVmMamNgE

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    8. I'm reading comments on some other blogs some of the comments are:weird, stink, ridiculous, one smart comment was aren't we allll now talking a bout Chanel no5?? I don't know! maybe this add will increase the sales for Channel & that would be the point in their prespictives.

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    9. Anonymous, you are so right! We're all talking about Chanel No. 5 again. No such thing as bad publicity....

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    10. Surely you mean 'No such thing as brad publicity...'?

      Sorry.

      As for previous ads, I loved what Audrey Tatou did.

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    11. ..or Audrey Tautou even!

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    12. Ash--

      I agree. I liked the Audrey Tautou commercial, which wasn't contrived and ridiculous like the Nicole Kidman one. I especially liked the photo of Tautou for Chanel, where she looks macho, which is truer to Chanel's ideas, since she was all about liberating women from torturous clothes.

      I think they should bring Deneuve back for another No. 5 commercial. I saw her in a Louis Vuitton ad awhile back, she is striking.

      Brad is gorgeous, but if I had to choose another man for a No. 5 ad, it would be someone older. Chanel is supposed to evoke timelessness and class. Then again...unless the commercial is done very, very carefully, the very fact that he is appearing in the ad could potentially take away from HIS timelessness and class. Whoever "he" may be.

      Chanel, why don't you hire me? My ideas are pure gold.

      --Nora B

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  13. I hope Choupette Lagerfeld barfs all over Karl's bedroom slippers in an act of terrible revenge for allowing this to be inflicted on us!

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    1. Two Choupette furballs, comin' right up!

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  14. Great audition, Mr., ah.... Pitt, is it? Thanks for coming out today. We'll be in touch. NEXT!

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  15. Now, if Brad Pitt was offering to spray me with his NO. 5 juice... that might seal the deal... ;-p

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  16. AAARRGGH ARAGH ACK ACK ACK.
    Sorry Katie, that's all I can say.
    Portia xx

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  17. I think it is all wrong and pretentious. A scruffy Pitt. I get that they are going maybe for a young hip crowed but NO...stop that! If I were doing it I would have cast George Clooney or Daniel Craig....they have GLAMOUR.

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    1. Oh, are we talking about who we'd have cast instead now? In that case, RYAN GOSLING, please!

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    2. Oh yeah...that works! Let's open a fragrance casting office.

      (By the way I reviewed "Lovely" and put all the blame on you and Chandler Burr.)

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    3. Katie, I'm not going to be able to get Ryan Gosling selling Chanel No. 5 out of my head all day. Yes! Ryan Gosling!

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  18. It reminds me of 'Pretention' by Stephen Fry & Hugh Laurie..except they have a wit, intelligence and self awareness way above barely sentient Brad..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TioGP9mWahA

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    1. I loved this; thanks! I was also thinking of Alan Cumming's very funny ads: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmdJEjJxYOY

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    2. Adorable, campy Alan Cumming - and yes, that self-awareness makes all the difference.

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    3. What I'm starting to understand is how hard it is to make a good perfume commercial.

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  19. Do we really turn with the world as it turns???! All this time I'm turning and I didn't even know it!

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  20. They're both moodily-lit black-and-white arty ads, but one's an unkempt man speaking sentences that don't make sense while the other is an incredibly polished woman speaking sentences that fascinate even when they don't represent us.

    In other words, as always, the writer, though by far the cheapest talent on the shoot, is not dispensable.

    Neither is a spokesperson who showers.

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    1. "...speaking sentences that fascinate even when they don't represent us."

      Judith, you've hit on something there. And the "fascinating even when they don't represent us" thing goes for perfume, too. That idea that you might slip into a different persona with each new fragrance.

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    2. I almost mistook it for a GAP or a Calvin Klein advert..

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  21. I think that the sublimely gorgeous Catherine Deneuve not only represents the aspirational, chic Chanel we all know and love but she speaks to men and women in this ad quite directly. For the women she is saying this perfume is an intimate thing, it brings my lover and I closer but on my terms (very 1970's vibe) and to men it says this is a way to please your woman and show her you appreciate and adore her. Brad just spouts drivel whilst looking like a hobo and doesn't speak to anyone or anything. Deneuve hit the nail on the head with No 5, uber-feminine but always in control

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    1. Autumn - yes, there's a lot of subtext going on in the Deneuve ad between the words and her cool, self-possessed demeanor.

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  22. Denise, you are welcome. The other one I always think of is 'Compulsion' by Saturday Night Live..“She was an incandescent angel dancing on the edge in a ritual that was both innocent and jejune” !

    Brad Pitt???

    Inexecrable

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  23. ok- I glanced at this this morning and thought- ooooh this looks fun, but really should be working...but in my quick review I saw the words "my foreskin"...and I was IN!- bahhhhh! so funny, Katie- thanks for this big fun, witty distraction this morning...and how brilliant to show us how this is supposed to look- what it looks like when it's well done with Deneuve's version...It's like you can totally see the blueprint for the plan but somehow it turned out all wrong with Pitt's version..so affected and goofy...bordering on Cheezy when the other seems so real and honest and has that thrill of a voyeuristic vibe when you watch...

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    1. Yes, the Deneuve ad has an intimacy to it...

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  24. Forget No.5 & the forgettability of this ad....Liu by Guerlain is the real deal.

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    1. I'll bet you have some vintage Liu, too!

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    2. Ohh yeahhhh....I would give some foreskin to get more than the two or so ounces of vintage parfum that I have now....

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  25. For me, the best Chanel No. 5 spot is the Baz Luhrmann/Nicole Kidman collaboration. I am not a Luhrmann fan at all, so I pretty much think its the best thing he's ever done. The last moment, on the red carpet, is just perfection. Glamorous, epic, AND understated - everything a fragrance should aspire to communicate.

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