When Chanel Used to Mention Prices in Commercials for the No.5: The Sophistication Learning Curve {Perfume Ads}

I was foraging You Tube for some retro Chanel No. 5 ads to add some historic perspective on the advertising of the most famous perfume in the world, when I came upon two that made me smile. What you see is that while as always sophisticated women were featured to turn the No. 5 into an aspirational fragrance, back in the 1970s they did not hesitate to show a price list at the end of the commercial or even have Catherine Deneuve tell you the prices of the different products.

You can only say that there was a sophistication learning curve for Chanel No. 5 advertisers if you compare those ads with the more recent ones that are made to look like glamorous trailers for Hollywood feature movies. Jacques Helleu and Baz Luhrmann were very conscious about that new model. Helleu even said that Luhrmann's Chanel No. 5 film is NOT a commercial, it is a short movie. And Chanel got even more publicity for the huge amount of money the brand spent on the Nicole Kidman non-ad. As Helleu delineated his mission back then to Luhrmann: how are you going to help No. 5 stay No. 1?

And so now, god forbid, no prices are whispered at the end, not even with a distinguished British accent or a sexy French one.

The 1970 British advert makes an implicit parallel between art and perfumery: if you are an aesthete and appreciate the fine arts, then the No. 5 is part of your universe...

This is the ad with Catherine Deneuve,

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