A recent Chanel No. 5 ad featuring Brad Pitt has the marketing world at odds. Some say Pitt’s “scruffy” look in the commercial is against the brand’s sophisticated brand image. Others question why Pitt was selected to represent the brand at all. Is using Pitt a way to target women? Is the campaign targeting men during the run-up to the holidays? Or both?
Pitt is one of those celebrities who attracts both men and women. Men aspire to be like him, and women aspire to be with him.
He’s the perfect shill for Chanel.
The Chanel No. 5 ad in question has Pitt riffing on the meaning of timelessness. Produced in black-and-white, the ad has been running during baseball’s World Series telecasts on Fox, and has more than 4.64 million views on YouTube. And, the spot has won the ultimate brand prize—a parody on Saturday Night Live and by Conan O’Brien (see below).
It is a campaign that appears to be a homerun for Chanel No. 5. The fragrance has been an object of desire for women for generations, but may be something that men know little about. Pitt is a friendly face to men that can serve to make guys more comfortable going to the fragrance counter and is understood by all to be an object of desire to women. His seductive allure is well known—reinforced by his relationships with both Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie. And, his social conscious positions make him approachable, and suggest him to be an honest spokesperson—rather than someone just in it for the cash. He makes it cool to buy perfume.
Pitt was reportedly paid $7 million, and Chanel is expected to spend $10 million to support the U.S. advertising.