Comparison of Chanel No.5 Magazine Advertisement in 1959 and 2004
“What do I wear in bed? Chanel N°5, of course.”Marilyn Monroe mentioned in her interview in 19521. When referring to fragrance, it is hard not to mention Chanel N°5, due to its uniqueness, longevity and popularity, it is associated by others with women, famous and not famous, who have worn it in different eras over its decades. Chanel N°5 is the first perfume launched by CoCo Chanel in 19202, it is not only one of the world’s top selling perfumes3 but also represent a world of fantasy and reflection of the desire and pleasure of the time period.
Prior to the introduction of magazine, newspaper is the main communication source of information and advertising in the society4. At that time period, it is one of the most effective method for advertisings to enter the house of consumer since the limitation of technological development of radio and television have not yet been discovered. Different from newspaper, magazine does not aim to target everyone, it often has very specific group of target group, presenting information and areas of interest that its target group would enjoy. In the early age of magazine, there was a great emphasize in targeting elite class of the society, which be seen from extremely informative full page of texts. After a realization of increasing number of middle class and immigrants, magazine shifted its target from the elite to middle class5, which lead to the necessity of the use of imagery to communicate. Editors of magazine has shift from elite man with a background of mostly literature to middle class man with a background relating to merchandise. Magazine realized that the profits are not made through subscriptions, but through companies market their products by buying spaces in the issue6. Advertisement in magazines has become one of the most prominent method of marketing or in another word, methods of creating desire. Chanel has always been featured their advertisement in leading female fashion related magazine such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Elle. This essay will explore the comparison of Chanel N°5 fragrance magazine advertisement from a different time period of 49 years in relationship to the cultural shift and the impact of advertisement from self satisfaction to sexual attraction which represents through values hold in gender, stereotypes, lifestyle, desire and fantasy.
The two advertisements that will be used to analyze are the magazine ads of the famous Chanel N°5 perfume. ‘Chanel becomes the woman you are’ print ad in 1959 (Fig1) starring Suzy Parker, one of the most recognizable faces of the 1950s as a supermodel and actress. Suzy Parker was the signature face for Coco Chanel as she has always been associated with elegance and glamour7. The dominant part of the advertisement presents a black and white dreamy photograph of Suzy Parker in a beautiful evening gown with the perfect hair and make up, glancing slightly away from the viewers. The ads also features the well known bottle/ product, Chanel N°5 as a secondary focus with a tag line ‘Chanel becomes the woman you are’ with a paragraph expanding on it: ‘A perfume is different on different women because every woman has a skin chemistry all her own. Chanel N°5 is subtly created to blend with your own delicate essence- to be like Chanel N°5, yet deliciously like you alone. Chanel becomes you because it becomes you.’.
Similarly in one of the contemporary most famous campaign for Chanel N°5 in 2004 (Fig2), Nicole Kidman, a talented and beautiful Australian actress who enters the hollywood famously known for her elegant beauty8 was enlisted to represent the fragrance. The technological development of film, television and recent main information communication and sharing method, the internet, allow advertising to go beyond just a printed page enter to the phrase of story telling. The 2004 Nicole Kidman advertisement has a direct connection to the campaign of a...
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