All perfume ads look the same

We have recently released a new video campaign for our fragrance Bubble Gum. It has a simple yet quirky storyline, there is just one model, dressed in bright colours, playing around with bubble gums and slimes, stretching them, rolling, throwing and pushing. The perfume bottle appears at some point too. The dialogue? You can hear one side of the phone conversation with sounds that suggest so, presumably describing an experience of smelling a perfume. 

What is this ad even about? What are we trying to advertise? 

Popular perfume ads usually follow a very defined scenario: there is a beautiful girl, in a great dress, moving sensually, maybe dancing a little. There is usually a handsome man too, and most likely, one is trying to flirt with one another and we have a little romance story playing out in front of our eyes. Even in Emily in Paris, we had a pretty good look at it! We get it – this is how these fragrances are meant to make you feel – sexy, alluring and beautiful.

We don’t always wear perfume to feel any of these feelings. It is also not only about making us feel more attractive. Sometimes, it’s about a dose of confidence or a good mood, or just to feel like oneself. So many different reasons! 

Of course, it’s not only the perfume industry to blame. Apparently, “sex sells”, we’ve heard it decades ago, it stuck around and we got used to it to the extent that, for many years, it has not been questioned. 

Luckily, thanks to the grassroots work of many feminist and social equality organisations, it is slowly changing in some areas of our life and some ads that were considered appropriate back in the day, wouldn’t be so nowadays. The worst examples will be accordingly called out. 

Yet still, there are so little perfume ads that do not feature a stereotypically beautiful, according to the Western canon, woman: white, thin, young and heteronormative.

So I imagine that the idea behind it was: another woman watches such an ad and thinks “well so if I buy this perfume, I will be just like her and the society tells me I should be exactly like that, so I should do so”. The truth is, the majority of woman cannot relate to it, this woman from an ad is not representing. It’s not okay to benefit from the patriarchal system and try to sell someone a product on the premise of making them ‘perfect’ while simultaneously objectifying them. 

Another possibility is that these ads are made to be watched by a heterosexual man who will enjoy the attractive actress on the screen and gift said perfume to his partner – which was probably working well when these type of advertisements started appearing during horrific times when the majority of women weren’t in charge of their money. Yes, that’s how long we’ve been looking at the same ad, a different perfume. 

We’re so done with this! We hope that the recent growth of niche perfume will also mean a change in creative ideas used to promote fragrances. Conveying a scent in a moving image makes it easier to translate its aura to someone before they can smell it. Let’s try to capture all the moods, all the reasons, all the feelings we lock in the perfume bottle.