Ad Wars: CHANEL n.5 VS Miss Dior


The latest ads for CHANEL n.5 and miss Dior fragrances have been released in time to boost sales for Valentine’s Day. Both brands have chosen the short film ad, with Chanel calling back director Baz Luhrmann hoping to replicate the success of 2004 Le Film, starring Nicole Kidman.

CHANEL n.5 The one that I want

Supermodel Gisele Bündchen goes surfing in a Chanel swimsuit and matching board to clear out her mind, after, presumably, a fight with her husband. She looks very troubled: she feels something is wrong, or maybe regrets something she said. So she hurries back to her mansion trotting on the private beach only to see her husband leaving the house, but instead of stopping him she changes her wet swimsuit to a silk gown and sadly watches the car pull out. Her daughter arrives pulling the nanny’s arm and she hides her worries behind a smile, while finally noticing the note he left her. We can read on the envelope “to my heart I must be true” but she leaves it on her dressing table preferring to put on lipstick and merrily spay some Chanel n.5 in the air, to her daughter’s delight. They wave goodbye and the little girl goes to school while Gisele goes to work. She’s a top model, in case you were wondering. During a pause in the photo shooting (the photographer is Baz Luhrmann) she finally reads her husband’s letter. He still loves her! She must go find him and tell him she loves him back! She leaves the set at once and drives, weeping, the deserted road to the city where she throws her car keys to an invisible valet and finally reunite with him in a Lynchian theatre where he has been waiting all day listening to a cover of a the Grease song that inspired his love letter. They kiss and smile, and they are happy and in love again!

My thoughts: the Chanel ad is the celebration of marital love, who can overcome some bad days (symbolized by the waves and Gisele surfing them) and be renewed by a date night in the city. Unlike the Kidman ad, here love and family come before work. The choice of Gisele as a testimonial is quite fitting: she embodies the modern woman able to balance a successfull carreer and the care of her happy family.

The target: they are trying to attract new customers: working women in their early thirties are the main target.

Miss Dior #itsmissactually

Natalie Portman opens the door to the hotel valet bearing her wedding bouquet “your flowers Madame” he says politely to the soon-to-be bride. “It’s miss actually” she replies drily. Next thing we know, she’s walking down the aisle at her father’s arm. She looks terrified. At the last moment she stops, looks behind and murmurs “I’m sorry dad” while placing a lily of the valley from her bouquet on his lapel. She walks away and the world turns from black and white to colours. She’s so relieved that she takes off her shoes to run even faster and gets rid of her lovely bouquet who falls to the ground. Suddenly she’s in the country (must have been running a lot) where she takes off her wedding gown, revealing a black strapless mini dress under it. She’s running again. Now she’s on a rock by the sea, waiting for a helicopter coming to her rescue. She mounts a rope ladder in a rose petals storm and flies in the sunset, while the helicopter pilot lasciviously kisses her on the neck.

My thoughts: I think that the idea here is to portray a young woman who choses to escape a path already set for her (marriage) to live a more adventurous life. What I see is instead a spoiled rich girl who runs away with her lover on her wedding day in a very theatrical way, embarrassing her father and showing us that in the end she’s not that independent, since she runs from a man to another.

The target: young women in their twenties I guess. Natalie Portman is way older though.

Conclusions: neither is selling the dream, but the Chanel ad is more consistent. Dior did best in ads without a real story but with a strong Parisian mood, like this one. Valentine’s sales will proclaim the real winner!