Inevitable. Over the years celebrity endorsement of high-end consumer goods (let’s be honest- all consumer goods) has become common place. So it was inevitable that Brad Pitt, world renowned hunk, would eventually be paid $7 million to be Chanel’s first male face.
At first glance this doesn’t seem unusual. Chanel has had a long history of employing celebrity faces to promote their prestigious brand: from Marilyn ‘the only thing I wear to bed’ Munroe, to Nicole Kidman and Keira Knightley. Now to be honest the idea of utilizing Brad Pitt’s celebrity isn’t unusual but it what is, is that he is the first male to be the face of a Chanel fragrance.
When the ad was shown, it went viral, but not in a good way. The ad was mocked as being pretentious and obscure, it was criticized heavily and parodied heavily upon by basically everyone on the internet, as The Huffington Post described it. The two minute clip shot in black and white, featured Pitt in an inconsistently lit room, staring into the camera, rambling existential lines, like he just swallowed the product itself and stumbled halfway into a Nietzsche article.
It felt as if Pitt, likely at no fault of his own, was trying to appeal to man’s plight.
“The world turns and we turn with it.”
“Plan’s stop and dreams take over.”
“Wherever I go there you are…”
The problem is that it comes across as disjointed and shallow. The viewer laughs and feels pushed away by the awkwardness of his lines. We don’t want the product because of what he says. If we want the product, we want it because we admire Pitt for his other ventures, not this disastrous clip.
However the ad was interpreted and received, the question that remains is did the endorsement ultimately pay off for Chanel? The ‘any publicity is good publicity’ saying seems to contain some truth if Brad ‘there you are’ Pitt’s spiel is involved. While Chanel kept its sale figures a secret, the campaign did seem to promote sales at the end of the year. Department store clerks reported that in the lead up to Christmas, more men were buying the classic Chanel fragrances, not only for their partners, but also buying the men’s fragrances for themselves. The director of beauty buying at U.K. department store House of Fraser said the Pitt commercial “has changed perceptions amongst men of the brand as a whole.”
Here’s the video (WARNING: May contain Pseudo-intellectual bullshit) :
Miesner, J 2012 ‘Brad Pitt’s Chanel No. 5 Commercial Is Cracking Us Up’
the Huffington Post, viewed on 22/08/15
Androich, A 2013 ‘Did Brad Pitt sell more Chanel?’ MarketingMag,
viewed on 22/08/15
Grill, A 2013 ‘Brand authenticity and the value of celebrity endorsement’ Myndset,
viewed on 22/08/15
The Hazards of Celebrity Endorsements in the Age of Twitter, 2013, viewed on 22/08/15