Brad Pitt as face : for Ralph Lauren maybe… but not Chanel

Brad Pitt for Chanel

While researching this piece, I came cross some pretty harsh language, “The Smell of Disaster”, for one.  I’m not sure that it’s a disaster but I really wonder what the marketing people over at Chanel were thinking when they cast Brad Pitt as the face of Chanel No. 5.  All I can imagine is that they have deep pockets and they wanted to show off what money can buy.  For me, it’s a mediocre choice… not so much because of Brad Pitt himself but because of the execution.  I mean, look at that photo.  It’s awful!  I was a photographer in a former life and I printed my own photos in the darkroom and in this particular photo, I find that Brad Pitt looks like a wax figure!  The only thing that is alive is his hair!  The image is so grey!  Where is the contrast?  And what is he wearing?  For me, it’s not Chanel.  Where is the glamour?  Where is the fantasy?  Where is the next great love affair?  And please don’t send me to the video!  It’s even worse than the still.

You know… they should have gone back to Carole Bouquet.  For me, no one, ABSOLUTELY NO ONE, represents Paris chic like Ms. Bouquet.  The woman just exudes sophistication and glamour.  Even on a bad day (which I have yet to see), she takes a great picture.  Even in this Cannes snapshot, she looks fabulous.  She’s beautiful AND glamourous!  And for the American audiences,  many will remember her as the ultra-Paris-chic (yet ultra-jaded) Juliet on Sex & the City so even the recognition factor is there.

I’m sorry… that Brad Pitt ad might have been OK for American casual… but it’s not Chanel.

Better luck next time.

Carole Bouquet - click to enlarge

Top image : Still from the Chanel No. 5 advertisement (2012)

Bottom image : Carole Bouquet at the ‘Sleeping Beauty’ premiere in Cannes (2102)

Previous Post
Leave a comment


  1. FiveoaksBouquet

     /  December 2, 2012

    Couldn’t agree more that Pitt is the pits for this ad. Unkempt does not go with No5 and aside from the sloppy look in the photo itself, Brad Pitt has somewhat of a reputation for poor hygiene and bad smells, or so I have read over the years. Nothing wrong with a male ad for No 5; for instance, I could see a guy in a tuxedo on a snowy or other romantic night, on his way to offer No 5 as a gift.

    • You know… that’s what I thought they would do with Brad Pitt… a spectacular, romantic fantasy but from the man’s angle. Not so. If I were Chanel, I would pull this one right after the holidays and replace it ASAP.

      Thanks for the comment!

  2. Here in San Francisco there is a huge four story high banner of that photo of Brad Pitt hanging off the side of Macy’s overlooking Union Square. I looked up at it and I swear he looks embarrassed. Yes it was the wrong choice. If they wanted to use a man why not someone who is sophisticated and glamorous? Someone who looks smashing in a tuxedo. George Clooney or Daniel Craig for instance.
    I just hope this campaign is short lived. I agree with you, Carole Bouquet was the best.

    • A four-storey banner of the Brad Pitt Chanel advertisement… eesh!

      OH YES! George Clooney or Daniel Craig would have been so much better. Hey… another Carole Bouquet fan!


  3. jacardella

     /  December 2, 2012

    I just love this week’s post. They are my thoughts exactly. I was horrified when I saw the video.

  4. FiveoaksBouquet

     /  December 3, 2012

    From an advertising point of view, if Chanel wanted controversy and polarized reactions to the ad, it is probably a success. The buzz about it keeps the product in the public eye and that after all is the purpose of advertising. I would love to know the effect on sales and find out if the gamble worked or not.

    • Good point! But to play around with the image and the brand for sales… it seems to me it could backfire at one point. I often wonder if Chanel No. 5 wouldn’t benefit from a marked increase in price… not that I would want that but the optics could warrant it. Chanel No. 5 might look better with a higher price tag… making it “look” more exclusive.


  5. Tara C

     /  December 3, 2012

    Epic fail. Unless they figure that there’s no such thing as bad publicity… I find Brad Pitt totally unappealing and the ad was beyond ridiculous.

  6. Have you seen SNL’s spoofs? Unfortunately, they had been removed from almost everywhere. If you missed them, here you can see a clip from it: .


    Chanel No. 5 is sheer magic. My wife thinks so. So do I. But yuk, surely Brad Pitt can look classy. Consider the movie Mr and Mrs Smith. This is a big boo-boo from the folks at Chanel. what were they thinking? Ralph Lauren?

    Anyhow, here’s my take on Coco’s immortal classic. Enjoy!

    Thought For The Day
    By Leon Enriquez

    C = Clever instincts, clever and clear;
    O = Observe genius, observe pure soul;
    C = Clear yet distinct, clear couture steers;
    O = Opt mysterious, opt lasting whole.

    C = Come steal the show, come with finesse;
    H = Here spring fond charms, here scent romance;
    A = Align sure glow, align caress;
    N = Now fragrance sums, now beyond sense;
    E = Embrace and know, embrace address:
    L = Live perfumed psalm, love grand ascend!

    Best wishes,

    • Hi Leon!

      Thanks for the thought of the day! Maybe the Chanel folks can use it to inspire them for their next advertising campaign!


  8. Eric

     /  December 16, 2012

    Hi Normand,

    I have been away for a couple of months but back now reading my favorite blogs.
    It was nice catching up today and reading the posts I missed on your nice blog.

    I do have one “catty” comment on Brad Pitt’s campaign for Chanel No 5:

    His hair is suspiciously very reminiscent of Deneuve’s coiffed, slightly teased at the roots and sprayed hair in the ads for Chanel No 5 in the seventies!

    What do you think?

    I personally stopped believing in coincidences after learning about all the focus groups that marketing and advertizing agencies conduct prior to executing a new project.

    Nevertheless, Brad Pitt was a very poor choice as the new face of Chanel No 5.

    Happy Holidays!

    • Hi Eric!

      You know… it DOES look a little like Catherine Deneuve’s hair! I can’t wait for the next face. This one just doesn’t say “Chanel” to me.

      Happy holidays to you too!

  1. John F. Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe and Chanel No. 5 | The Perfume Chronicles
  2. New Chanel No. 5 ad : The One That I Want | The Perfume Chronicles

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: