I Hate Two Specific Dior Perfume Adverts

I started writing this post in order to tear down a couple of  perfume adverts and justify me including it in the hate list wemade on Monday. My initial hatred was inspired by these pretentious classics, incidentally both by Dior:

You will notice that they are a few years old, this is because I have not watched TV for the last few years and these are the ones that stuck in my mind.

In the first advert, they are essentially selling a smelly liquid, yet the adverts tell you literally nothing about the smell. Does it smell like flowers? Like fruit? Like a women languishing in a bath of liquid gold? Oh wait, that is not a smell. It reveals nothing about the product other than it probably costs a lot of money. If it wasn’t for the shots of the product you would not know what it was selling at all.

The second example is in fact, according to the advert, a new seduction by Dior. It is not actually a perfume. This may go some way to explaining the sexually suggestive imagery that seeps from every pore of the leering, greasy advertisement. It is selling a concept rather than an actual thing, evoking feelings of animal lust, danger and ‘the chase’. The first example is no different in this case, selling the idea of glamour and luxury accompanied by a porn soundtrack.

Now we get the the heart of the matter. These adverts promise excitement, sex and wealth that the product can not deliver. They are all concept and false promises which is why I initially hated them so much. However this is not confined to Dior perfume adverts, it reflects the state of advertising today; to be consistent I should say I hate the whole industry.

This is simply not rue. One glaring contradiction would be the famous Guiness advert which I God damn LOVE:

This is equally as ridiculous as the above perfume adverts, and tells you nothing about the glorious and refreshing taste of Guiness. However, I love this and hate the others. Here is another Guiness ad that I do not love as much, but yet does not inspire in me the same kind of hatred as the perfume ads do, despite being equally if not more ambiguous and nonsensical:

It is here that I realise a horrible truth. The only reason I hate the perfume adverts is because I am not interested in the world of fashion and luxury. Armed with this knowledge I went to Youtube to find some more Dior perfume adverts and see if I could view them through a more objective eye. Here is what I found:

While still not revealing anything about the smell, as per the standard, it did not make me feel the same gut reaction as the others. It is quite artfully shot and manages to be nostalgic whilst immersing the viewer in the busy backstage environment pretty effectively. I don’t like it but I can appreciate it as a piece of film. I don’t know what it is about the panther and gold bath, but I hate them. Irrational it may be, but there it is.

by Alex the Hypocrite.



tl;dr version: I hate perfume adverts, but cannot explain why. I love the Guiness ad with the horses.


I am trying to embed the videos so they don’t spill out over the frame, bear with me

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  1. So good that you put the examples up! I can totally understand it now. First, when you mentioned on the class that design you hate are parfume adverts, I thought of course, because you are a boy :) But now, I watched your examples, and I have to say, I am a girl (i am not into luxury either, but I like fashion) the first two ads you put here I hate too. The gold one specifically was irritating me a lot. For me -as for you, too – did not make any sense. Didn’t even have an effect on my senses or anything. I am not a parfume ad fan, but as you wrote, if something is planned than it’s a difference. e.g this or this reaches its goal a bit more I think. Or is it just the style? Don’t know.. I think they could represent The Woman, who every women wants to be while wearing these parfumes. But at least these ads have an understandable story, a good rhythm, and a decent style. Ok this is my opinion, but I am curious about what you think. I just wanted to prove, that a parfume advert (where parfume is about sex and women and erotic) doesn’t have to be vulgar, it can be stylish and nicely executed,too.


  2. Maybe Chanel just make better ads then Dior! The first one especially is a good bit of film and kind of reminds me of the short story ‘The Beauties’ by Anton Chekhov, using the train as a metaphor for the transient nature of beauty. The sun will rise on a one night stand, young people grow old, and each application of Chanel No. 5 will wear off in time. Very artfully done.

    The two adverts are undeniably well done with a good narrative and strong themes, so I admit they are good on artistic grounds. However I am still uneasy about the fact that the adverts focus on ideas of romance, sex, adventure, allure etc. that are the implied result of using the perfume. It promotes a lifestyle that they would like their product to be associated with, but is by no means a result of using the product. An ugly and awkward person could buy and wear Chanel No.5 and experience none of the stuff in the advert. But as I said before this is characteristic of advertising in general and to say I hate it would be a lie.

  3. Alex! This is sadly in hungarian, but just came out today, an article about the worst 6 parfume ads from the last couple of years. :)

    • Man that some of those are TERRIBLE! It does seem that most perfume ads are are horrendous.

  4. I think that you are right!

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