Perfume adverts. They’ll try anything, right? Sexy men and women parading around in dresses dipped in gold and boxer shorts with four or five socks shoved down the front. It’s no secret that perfume commercials have to be taken with a pinch of salt. A big pinch. A huge pinch. Because these adverts are basically saying to us: If you buy this perfume, this could be you. You might end up smelling like your grandmother’s underwear drawer dipped in lavender musk, but your overall aroma and aura will be greatly improved by even owning this scent. Men, you’ll get the girl who looks suspiciously similar to Cara Delevingne, and women, well, you can be her.
Although, most women, not surprisingly, find these adverts pretty tedious. (When did perfume adverts become ‘films’, by the way?) To live up to the scent of Keira Knightley, apparently we all have to don motorbike leathers and straddle a photographer. To bag Robert Pattinson, which according to Dior is exclusively down to the way he smells, we have to put up with his, frankly, childish behaviour and watch him run on buildings and drive a car through a foot of sea water. So just what are these adverts saying to us? I found the six best perfume adverts on the web, just to show us where we, as a sex, are going wrong, and the seven types of woman that you need to start being:*
1. The woman who gets into strangers’ cars.
Ah, I hear you say, but we’d all get into a strangers’ car if that stranger was Chris Pine. Wrong. We wouldn’t. Even after walking past Chris two or three times and still failing to say hello, or to introduce herself even, this lady thinks it’s perfectly acceptable to get into his car. Have you not seen the taxi advert? That driver could be a murderer, or a rapist. But who cares, right? The driver is Chris Pine, and he smells nice, and according to Armani he is DEFINITELY NOT a rapist. Let’s throw caution to the wind, girls. If he smells like Armani Code, you go ahead and get into the car of that person you don’t know.
2. The woman who acts in an extremely unprofessional manner.
According to Chanel, we must all abandon work commitments in order to be sexy enough. Screw the deadline, tell your boss to shove her meeting up her arse. Because I have news for you, being sexy is all about unprofessionalism. Keira Knightley is the perfect example. Look how gorgeous she looks on her photo shoot, writhing around in a sheet. And then she’s almost finished when POOF! She’s gone. No work commitments for her! A job isn’t sexy! Screw your photoshoot, she says, I’m reckless and I don’t need to be paid. Now that is hot.
3. The woman who lets men look up her skirt in a bar.
Nothing screams feminism like standing on a bar and letting men ogle your best black pants. Or allowing them to follow you around a little fishing village on the French Coast. That’s empowering. The only way that we can come across quirky and intriguing is, you heard it, to dance on a bar. Quick! Give me a leg up. And get me a sunscreen for the beach. We all must endeavour to do this on every night out. Nothing sexier than slipping and sliding around on a greasy wooden bar an inch deep in a mix of beer and tequila. Now that’s what will make me Dior.
4. The woman who doesn’t find these things irresponsible.
Oh, Robert Pattinson, you dream boat. Running across rooftops to the sound of Led Zeppelin in the very epitome of young male aggression. You, my friend, are a silverback gorilla. You are the alpha male. And we are nothing but your followers. I don’t care if you might slip and break your neck, I’m not too bothered about you flooding my car with sea water, or the fact that you seem to think its normal to drive where there are no roads (I think I just discovered a metaphor). And, by the way, an empty bath tub is the comfiest place in a house. We should all sit by and watch you smoke and be all brooding and smouldering and weirdly silent. If your man wears Dior Homme, get ready to become the responsible one in the relationship. You might just find yourself needing to purchase a first-aid kit.
5. The woman who survived in the jungle in a maxi dress and full makeup.
Ever seen I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here? If not, let me explain the premise to you. 10 or so minor celebs get thrown into the Australian jungle and are forced to eat basically nothing, to eat cockroaches and to camp in sleeping bags for three weeks for the British public’s entertainment. Let me tell you this. When they come out of this experience, they do not look like this women in the Armani advert. They look worse. Much worse. But miraculously, this goddess has managed to trek through the jungle and keep a full face of make-up. Here’s where we’re going wrong:
1. You must always take a full bag of makeup with you when trekking through the outback.
2. If it starts to rain, do not shelter from it, writhe around in it.
3. Be that woman who can rock the wet-hair look without looking like a drowned marsupial.
If you follow these careful instructions, then you too can feel the freshness and wildness that comes with wearing this Armani perfume.
6. The woman who doesn’t find this close up shot of David Gandy’s budgie smugglers repulsive.
Normal women may find this overly close-up shot of David Gandy’s package a little… well… gross. The tightness of his barely there pants and the size of his bulge feels like it might be going all 3D and coming through the screen and slapping you around the face. The first time I saw this advert I couldn’t stop thinking about it, in a horror movie kind of way. But Dolce and Gabbana want the woman who wears this perfume to worship Gandy’s package, to stand in awe as he gets out of the sea all dripping in salty water, and in those teeny tiny pants. Take the lady actually in the advert. She’s weak at the knees! To be a D&G lady you must never question why your man wears underwear smaller than you. Or why he borrows yours.
Although this article is of course, a joke, I can’t help wonder why these advertisements can’t portray women in a less sexualised way. The message is clear – to be sexy, to wear the scent, you have to be okay with living under a patriarchy, which to me and most other women out there is not okay. Every cloud has a silver lining, though, and on my quest to find the most disturbing perfume ads I could, I found this on from Prada; cute, empowering, and utterly surprising.
Yes, perfume is portrayed as being something sexy and sensual, but for most women, it’s something we spritz on every day before we leave the house. We don’t let it wear us.