Why are there so many adverts for perfume and aftershave during the run up to Christmas? Well the obvious answer is that it’s Christmas and people might like to buy perfume or aftershave as a present. But still, they seem to dominate the advert breaks more than any other niche gift.
It has struck me in the past that the advertising of smells is a pretty difficult business. Perhaps in the future, TVs will have some sort of inbuilt glade style chemical squirter that will allow the viewer to sample the fragrance on show; but until then we remain clueless to the fragrance’s allure. As a result of this technological drawback, the advertising boffins have created new and ingenious ways to coerce us into buying their product. This year, surreal abstraction is the preferred method. It is a technique that typically comprises three core elements.
1) Confusing scenes that you would never encounter in real life. For example, the CKin2u advert features a man running up a stairwell after a girl in an old fashioned lift, until they emerge in a room full of draped cellophane . . . ?
2) Evocative music that stamps an indelible mark in your permanent memory and summons feelings of confusion, unease and sometimes even foreboding.
3) A narration of strange, unfathomable statements that leave you with the impression of having watched the last 2 minutes of The Shawshank Redemption, or glimpsed a fragment of conversation between two secret agents.
I wish I could say that these adverts were enjoyable, or even entertaining, but the truth of the matter is that they are often very disturbing. To add to this, they tend to amalgamate in the advert breaks of the programmes I watch before going to bed and, as such, they have a powerful ability to slip into my subconscious. I fall asleep with the weird phantasmagoric snippets reeling around my brain, only to awaken at 3am asking myself “Do I have the code? – the Armani code?” No . . . maybe . . . I don’t know! What even is the fucking Armani code?!
These adverts worry me for two reasons. Firstly, because the characters within them occupy some sort of odd parallel universe where striding through mansions disrobing, or frolicking around in cellophane drapes (which, I might add, is a potential choking hazard) is perfectly normal behaviour. But most of all, I worry because behind this polished gibberish is a clique of highly paid mental cases that dream up these barmy concepts. And, whatsmore, these people are out there among us! – muttering things like “You know who you are – what you want. The game is won. Dior Homme Sport!”
Thankfully, these people are all well paid and in good jobs, so I will probably never encounter them. But I still don’t like the fact that the mentally unstable are projecting their thoughts into my fragile mind.
If I had my way, I’d enforce all perfume/aftershave adverts running from 1st December onwards to employ distinctive Christmas themes and Christmas nomenclature.
The three wise men could carry Gold, Frankincense and Chanel No. 5. It’d probably do Nicole Kidman some good to hang out with wise men, rather than that undesirable lurking on a Parisian roof.
The language could also do with brightening up. “Hark, thy code! Yay, tis thy Armani code.”
Much more festive.
N.B If you don’t know what i’m on about, here are two of the adverts I dislike the most:
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=1sE0Z3ovUZE (disturbing music and sinister man)