Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Brad Pitt as New Face for Chanel ~but for Chanel No.5!

Has the "men trying feminine fragrances, women wearing masculine colognes" bit gone over your head? Brad Pitt is here at last to promote a famous perfume aimed at women in the new advertising campaign of the most famous French house that will surely have many dropping their jaws.

The actor and director has been unveiled as the new face of Chanel No.5 and follows in the footsteps of not just Marilyn Monroe who famously wore only this while in bed, but Catherine Deneuve, Nicole Kidman (unveiled as the face in 2003) and Audrey Tautou (shooting a fabulous commercial in 2009)

"According to E! Online, [Brad] will receive a seven-figure sum for his trouble and a source told the site that Pitt, 48, will shoot his first advertising campaign in London this week." [source] This piece of news is officially corroborated as having Pitt on board.

It will surely be an interesting commercial to watch. I'm actually really taken with the idea. Might we be in for such imaginative concepts as those presented in this magnificent Ridley Scott Chanel No.5 commercial?

EDIT TO ADD: According to Daily ELLE, there is a masculine fragrance version of Chanel No.5 in the works, to be revealed "in the following months". Chanel didn't confirm or deny this rumour. 

Collage of Brad Pit with Chanel No.5 bottle author's own.


  1. MariaA16:04

    Nice collage you made!! I am very curious how all this will end up! Do we know who will direct it yet?

  2. I don't find this very appealing in the least for some reason. I can see Mitsouko can go either way but not Chanel no. 5. It's very few of the classified feminine perfumes (Mitsouko) that I can see a man wearing. I think it's because I am an American and not too many men will wear no. 5 or any other women's perfume. Probably because they don't want the label of being gay if they are straight.

  3. Mimi Gardenia16:42

    Wow, Elena - the first male to promote No .5 . Thank you for this and for the picture which I love. Do you think it's because No .5 has been dropping down the list of best sellers ? ( Hello, J'adore ! )
    I welcome this smart move. Just think of all the women who will think Brad Pitt loves No.5 on a woman . ( Excuse me , I have to go buy another flacon of the extrait now ! )
    I am always in support of Chanel No. .5- my first real grown up perfume that has continued to stay with me through the years. :)

  4. AnnabelLee16:59

    I had to read through the entire post to convince myself this is not a belated April Fool's prank. Brad Pitt? Chanel #5? Somehow this combination just doesn't compute in my head. Although, to be fair, both entities could do a lot worse.

  5. Hmm, why not? I think it's a great marketing concept; a man promoting a perfume targeted at women is interesting. Maybe he doesn't actually wear the fragrance, but loves it on his woman? Or, maybe he does wear it - even better. We need to give up the dated ideas about male/female fragrances.

  6. I'm super happy about this!!

  7. Holly23:55

    I hope this is a hoax!

  8. I'm choking! Brad Pitt? Yuk!

  9. Miss Heliotrope02:52

    I don't think I like this idea - not because he is male, but bc he is the wrong sort of male - not really the equivalent of the Chanel No 5 woman. Not the sophistication - do they think his age makes him mature? Square peg round hole for me, although using a male is a clever idea.

    Which male could do it? Hmmm...

  10. M,

    thanks! No, no word yet, but will update as soon as possible.
    I hope it's something as good as Mendes for Tresor (he did have a very expressing material, i.e. Winslet, to direct though).

  11. E,

    the fear of appearing gay for wearing feminine fragrance is absolutely valid for other cultures as well you know. Even here where people are more sensually explorative (but not receptive to the idea of gayness being a non issue if they're not gay).
    I know of a couple of Frech actors who borrow No.5 off their girlfriends (and no, they're not gay); on men's skin sometimes perfumes gain a different sublevel, a different subcontext. And if they're manly to begin with, this juxtaposition is very interesting too!

    As to Brad, I bet the ad won't feature him wearing No.5 but smelling it on a woman (and perhaps "sticking" some of the trail of it on himself or borrowing a scented article of hers). ;-) We need to remember Brad is big in US, Chanel is mainly interested in its US audience and you yourself said it "not too many men will wear No.5 [...] because they don't want the label of being gay if they're straight". So...

    Ah, I miss the Little Red Riding Hood ads by Besson; now THAT was imaginative advertising. (clip linked) Brilliant!!

  12. Mimi,

    thanks honey and thanks for your interesting comment: No.5 has been shaping for a lot of us, no?
    I also recall being gifted with a bottle when a teenager told "every girl has to have a bottle of this on her dresser". :-)

    The idea is certainly an innovative one (I would have myself prefered someone more quirky as the face, but they do have marketing and popularity considerations I guess) and I am crossing fingers it goes beyond the "hmmm, who is that scented stranger" and picking up a handkerchief with "that smell" off the ground or something. (I miss Helleu, does it show?)

  13. AL,

    I guess it's picking from the international celebrities pool and Brad happens to be quite popular.
    One would probably associate a Clooney type more with something as "tailored" as Chanel though. (though he wouldn't be my personal pick either, he's smashing in the Martini ads)

  14. Barbara,

    right! We do need to give leeway to people just doing what they like and not paying attention to what is "dictated" as proper. Life's too short anyway.

    As I said above to Eldarwen22 I bet the commercial will be along the lines you delineate: smelling it on a woman, maybe keeping a scented momento of her in a pocket or something along those lines. I doubt they'd show Brad waking up, putting two drops of No.5 and having women dropping at his feet (That would be Axe/Lynx ads, which are also brilliant in their own way btw)

  15. Carol,

    yeah for you!! I am excited about a new Chanel No.5 "story" as well. It's a "heavy" history to surpass.

  16. Holly,

    nope, it's confirmed through numerous sources apparently.

  17. Nancy,

    I guess we're not exactly the target audience (to clarify: no hard feelings on my part, but no crazy enthusiasm either), but lots of women, especially in the US, literally swoon for Brad.
    They need to address the masses, a commercial for TV is a LOT of money invested.

  18. Miss Heliotrope,

    a ha! A GREAT observation. Square peg round hole is a good descriptor indeed. He's an actor, of course, which means he could do anything, if asked to, but I guess people have a predetermined idea of a guy through not only his profession but also his public image these days, when we know everything about our fav stars, from where they shop to what colour of boxers they like to wear. The old Hollywood mystery helped a lot to stir the imagination in that regard.

    I also agree that using a male is a clever idea.
    They did have a sketch of an ad (the storyboard was created and uploaded by the designer after the abandonment of the plan at the very least) with that "strangers meet and man is taken with woman's scent" scenario. It was also male-led, in that they had picked the actor first, the woman was to be chosen as an afterthought.

    I had written about it in 2009.
    See the article here:

    The lost Chanel, commercial to be directed by Minghella
    But then Minghella died...

    Now. Which male would do for Chanel No.5? I always pictured Jacques Hugues Anglande (a terrific actor and a quirky face, not "pretty pretty" standard fare), who is also quoted in a cinema magazine from the early 90s as wearing No.5 on occasion himself. But I doubt that it would click for most American women ("who is this...ah, Angland, er, England guy again?")

  19. Eliam Puente00:09

    I'm male, 29, and have proudly worn several classic woman's fragrances. Granted, I am gay but mostly act and dress masculine. Eldarwen22, I have to agree that Mitsouko is probably the best example of a feminine perfume that a man can wear (Jicky also being a great example and so is Opium) but I've also happily worn Shalimar, L'Heure Bleue, and No. 5. No. 5 smells the most feminine, but worn in small dosages, I think some men can definitely pull it off. On my skin No. 5 smells muskier, sweet, and sexy. I'll definitely keep my eyes open for this new ad campaign. Thanks for sharing!

  20. Miss Heliotrope02:00

    Thank you!

    Your suggestion could work - I'm not very up on actors of anywhere - I just get the slighty-rugged-all-american impression about Pitt (even if he can act otherwise) & don't think it matches.

    As an Australian who has lived in the US, I feel Americans are let down by their publishers/media organisers/so on, bc they are perfectly able to deal with the wider world & its representatives, but are not often given the chance.

    I would probably use someone dark, for starters, and...& surely a sexy foreigner could sell - make it more upmarket & so on? (& I saw a picture of Pitt once with the then President of Pakistan - Pitt had his feet on the table - not very sophisticated).

  21. Eliam,

    obviously being gay has nothing to do with what fragrance you so cleverly choose, that's just a modern (last 100 years or so) concept anyway. My SO wears the re-issued Diorama, jasmine-blast and all, and he's as straight as an arrow. But it suits him! If the bottle isn't terribly frou frou he doesn't mind having a women's frag on his bathroom shelf.

    All these are great fragrances: I do get the musky sweet character of No.5 myself and am a woman; I think it's one aspect of it that surfaces most on naturally darker-haired people in my experience (has to do with Ph acidity rathet than hair colour of course, but I'm using hair shade as a quick index in a pitch, like the companies did several years ago)
    Btw, L'HB on a guy would be a totally out of body experience! I have never smelled it on a guy.

    There is SOME talk that perhaps they're shooting for a No.5 masculine fragrance counterpart (which is in the cards for launch later on), though nothing's certain at this point. ;-)

  22. Miss Heliotrope,

    an Aussie!! How wonderful! I love Aussies :-)

    Thanks for the great comment!

    There you go: the public image of Pitt (rather than his acting abilities, which well, aren't stellar as say Ed Norton's, but not abysmall either) interferes with what we picture him as.
    This never happened with old stars because we never saw them outside the silver screen (and only had a handful of paparazzi shots).

    You got a point if I understand correctly that hiring an actor necessarily limits -rather than widens- possibilities; they do need a recognisable face though, I guess, which is why they're so keen on hiring famous people for so long (even the Little Red Riding Hood commercial with Estella Warren, which is plenty imaginative, does fature Estella Warren after all...)

    But your tour de force point is that American media manipulates and condescends on American people; they do take them for less than they are and they do feed them with a bunch of crap to promote their own agenda. Maybe it's because the media are all powerful in the US and heavy industry, though where in the world aren't they more or less? It's a fascinating subject to ponder on.

  23. Can Chanel do a localised/ european ad with either Mathieu Amalric or Javier Bardem pls?

  24. LD,

    ah...well...that would be wishful thinking I'm afraid. But we can dream *sigh*


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