We announced the other day that the house of Guerlain was taking to the street for their new perfume, Guerlain Homme.
The jungle display at Opéra Garnier for the new Guerlain Homme looked nice but the atmosphere was flat. The only emotional reaction the event elicited in me was a smile after I heard, several times over, the line from the Guerlain Homme commercial by Jean-Paul Goude booming across the street: "pour l'animal qui dort en vous" " for the animal that sleeps in you". Contrasted with the sedate ambience and the unconcerned or weary airs of the tourists resting on the steps of the opéra, many of them white-haired, it was rather amusing.
This attempt to reach out to urbanites where they are to be found, on the street, seemed to be marred by a lack of staff support from Guerlain. If the decoration was pleasing to the eye and the Goude commercial well-visible and audible from a distance, the impact on passers-by seemed minimal. A couple of fragrance models were supposed to cover the large stretch of sidewalk girding the front of the opera house and they were huddled together in exactly the same spot joking between themselves while spraying almost absent-mindedly on strips of paper without offering any eye contact to their consenting victims. The lack of conviction was palpable. There were no Mojitos in sight to refresh potential customers and I realized after leaving the scene that the air smelled of nothing...
According to the ad copy, the air was supposed to vibrate with the smell of the new Mojito-based Cologne for men by Guerlain. A neat idea on paper which remained couched there. Perhaps it was not necessary after all to make it happen as it is less pricey to evoke it than to concretize it.
All in all it looked like the event was a pretext to draw attention to the brand name and the new cologne without really fulfilling all the promises of the alluring announcement. In their defense, it may well be that the LVMH-Guerlain team lacks the experience to organize this type of guerilla publicity.
The green potted plants were the most convincing addition to the landscape, which reinforced the static, stultified quality of the event.
All the young people must have been gone away trying to catch a glimpse of the pope visiting Paris. I did encounter a large group of wildly excited damsel-scouts in the métro, visibly en route to welcome Benedict XVI with songs and screams. If only that type of youth fervor and energy had been harnessed to sell the Guerlain Homme, that would have been an entirely different matter.