Buying a new bottle of fragrance can be inspired by many things; smelling the scent on someone else, a sample in the mail, or a recommendation from a friend. But a lot of us are drawn into the world of fragrance because of those crazy ads about perfume.
Whether it’s a sexy soiree on the beach, lust in a hotel room, or famous faces dousing themselves in the scent, you’ve got to admit, these are some of the most creative commercials on the planet.
But what have been some of the most memorable perfume ads? Here’s my roundup of some of those that have stuck in my mind.
Most Memorable Perfume Ads And Commercials Of All Time
1. Lady Gaga’s Perfume Commercial For Valentino Voce Viva
If there was ever a personality that would make a fragrance stand out, it’s Lady Gaga. Unafraid to be different, Lady Gaga is the epitome of uniqueness. But while she still has her out there aura in this advert, there’s something much more sophisticated about Lady Gaga in the commercial that makes you see her in a new light.
Wearing a lush red ball ball gown and with a flash of blonde hair secured in an elegant updo, Gaga takes on a new persona. She gracefully sings a raw version of Sine From Above from her album Chromatica. Images of the starlet are intertwined with those of a range of other models showing diversity and femininity. In truth, it’s one of the most beautiful ads about perfume I’ve seen in a long time.
2. Shelley Hack’s Charlie Perfume Commercial
Shelley Hack appeared in several Charlie commercials in the 70s and 80s but this vintage one from 1977 really stands out. In an era where women were still emerging and without the liberty ladies of today see, this ad was a real breath of fresh air.
Our stunning Shelly can be seen living the high life and taking center stage from her trip across town right through to meeting her date.
What’s most obscure about this vintage perfume commercial, however, is the Charlie song. If you were ever worried about subliminal messages in ads, you needn’t be with this one. It couldn’t be more in your face if it tried. Charlie, Charlie, Charlie.
3. La Vie Est Belle Perfume Commercial With Julia Roberts
Julia Roberts is, in my humble opinion, one of the most beautiful faces in Hollywood. She’s elegant, sophisticated, and strong. Those are all qualities that this perfume encaptures so she was naturally the right fit for the job. Breaking the mold of a typical Parisian party, Julia enters the room with an intent to turn heads. It tells you everything you need to know; wear this fragrance and you’ll never go unnoticed.
And speaking of going unnoticed, there’s a guy that looks suspiciously like Jeff Goldblum in the middle of the commercial. I’ve done masses of research but came up empty-handed; perhaps he’s a Hollywood double posing as a French fragrance fan. Who knows.
4. Enjoli Perfume Commercial
Heading back in time a little, we find the Enjoli perfume adverts. There were several but I’m loving this one from 1980 that features the iconic song that talks about how women can do it all. We’ll cook, we’ll work, we’ll take care of the kids, and then some. And be careful before you listen because it’s truly something of an earworm. Even today on social media, people are still catching the ‘I can bring home the bacon’ tune.
Marketed as a perfume for the ‘24 hour woman’, this was a classy fragrance that made you feel like a boss. At a point in history where liberating women was really starting to become a focal point in society, this was the boost that so many girls needed. In a nutshell; wear this perfume and you can take on the world.
5. David Dobrik Perfume Ad
The David Dobrik perfume ad really is an assault on the eyes. It’s a mash up of every other perfume ad you’ve ever seen in a 1:19 second montage. A couple of frolics on the beach, in a diner, by the pool, on a boat, between the sheets…need I go on?
Youtuber David branched out and launched his own collection of fragrances in 2020. Doesn’t it seem like anyone can jump on that perfume bandwagon? And for all intents and purposes, it feels to me as though this commercial is a bit of a dig at the perfume industry and their obscure way of marketing. But does it work? Oh absolutely. I found myself smiling from beginning to end.
6. Zendaya’s Perfume Ad For Lancome Idole
Riding on a beautiful white horse and dressed in a flowing taffeta gown, global superstar, Zendaya certainly makes an entrance for Lancome’s Idole perfume. Cantering into, through, and out the other side of the city, our heroine exudes femininity and power. It’s something we all want to feel.
She ends up atop a hill at dusk, raising a bottle of Idole above her head and looking out over her kingdom. I’ll tell you what, if a perfume makes me feel that strong, I’m off to the fragrance shop. As a marketing campaign, coupled with Sia’s attention demanding Unstoppable, I definitely feel like I could go the distance.
7. Johnny Depp’s Perfume Ad For Dior Sauvage
Poor old Johnny has had a rough run of it lately, what with his personal life being aired for all to see. While opinions on that subject are divided, one thing that we can all agree on is that he looked HOT in that Sauvage commercial.
Starting off in a dimly lit city scene, Johnny thrashes the life out of an electric guitar before announcing he’s got to get out of here, and that’s where the fun really begins. Off he heads in his classic car to a rugged wasteland where he’s confronted by none other than a bison before encountering an eagle and a wolf.
But then all is revealed. He digs a hole and empties all of his jewelry and accessories, leaving himself as merely a raw man in the desert. It’s unusual yet really hits home about how a fragrance should make you feel.
8. Charlize Theron’s Perfume Ad For Dior J’Adore
Glittering gold and the epitome of glam, the J’Adore commercial from 2014, starring actress Charlize Theron is one that we all know and love.
Oddly, it follows a very similar structure to Dior’s Sauvage ad with Mr Depp in that Ms Theron strips herself of everything unnecessary and emerges victorious and inhibited. Seems as though the brand may have a theme going on here.
But regardless of that, the ad works. It ends with our lead on top of a roof at sunset, glimmering and sparkling. Just in the same way you would if you were wearing J’Adore. Sold? I know I am.
9. David Gandy’s Perfume Ad For Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue
Who could forget the Light Blue commercial with world-renowned male model, David Gandy? If there was ever an ad about perfume that could just as easily pass as X-rated entertainment, this would be it.
Women and men around the world fell in love with David’s striking form and handsome jawline and that was enough to sell the fragrance without anything else. Throw in the stunning Bianca Balti and you’ve got a recipe for success.
Emerging from the crystal clear blue ocean, Gandy and Balti’s tan bodies intertwine to the sound of an Italian crooner. Just as things look like they’re going to get super steamy, the director yells cut. I don’t think I need to say anymore.
10. Chanel No 5 Perfume Ad With Nicole Kidman
No 5 is one of the most famous perfumes in the world so it’s only fitting that one of the most famous faces is used to market it. Nicole Kidman haphazardly makes her way through NYC in a flowing gown only for us then to find out she’s gone missing. A handsome stranger discovers her and they fall in love. If the advert wasn’t only a couple of minutes long, you’d be fooled into thinking you were watching a Hollywood movie. And as the most expensive commercial to ever be made, you’d be getting your money’s worth.
Directed by Baz Lurhmann, there are some uncanny resemblances to his film that conveniently starred Ms. Kidman; Moulin Rouge. It’s that bohemian, melancholy vibe that for me, is altogether different from the fragrance. But maybe that’s what makes it stand out.
11. Tom Ford for Men Fragrance Campaign By Terry Richardson
If you thought the Light Blue commercial was steamy then you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Tom Ford created an advertising campaign with photographer Terry Richardson back in 2007 that shocked audiences around the globe.
The ad shows a naked woman from the breasts down who is conveniently holding a bottle of perfume to cover her modesty. There’s not much left to the imagination and it isn’t the only time Tom Ford has played with fire where ads are concerned, just look at this image from the Tobacco Oud campaign. It’s a little more reserved but still incredibly hot.
Was this a ploy to get guys thinking that by wearing this fragrance women would be at their mercy? Or was this a way of making raunchy art under the guise of an advertising campaign? Whatever it was, it’s stuck in our minds.
12. Gucci Guilty For Men’s Commercial With Chris Evans And Evan Rachel Wood
This perfume commercial wastes no time in getting started with one of our stars bursting through glass on a motorbike, tailed by flames. There’s no getting away from the fact that this is a ramped-up ad designed to grab your attention.
Our pair meet in a bar and swiftly move to a dimly lit room where they passionately kiss and undress each other. No guesses for what happens next and Gucci isn’t afraid to make the details as clear as possible. It’s sexy, it’s in your face, and it’ll certainly sell you a fragrance that makes you believe you’ll live a very similar existence.
13. Jason Morgan For Armani Acqua Di Gio’s Perfume Ad
In the classic AdG style, Jason Morgan takes to the water in one of a lineup of commercials for the fragrance. What I personally love about these ads is their simplicity. It’s a guy swimming in the ocean all set in black and white.
He emerges, his perfectly toned body glistening with droplets as he climbs a tree in the middle of the sea. Observing the vastness around him, he then takes another dive and as he goes into the water, a glowing golden bottle of Acqua di Gio appears from it.
Sounds weird, but it’s simple, easy to watch and Armani uses a striking model to make sure the image doesn’t leave your mind.
Perfume Commercials, They Are More Than Just Ads About Perfume
Having looked at some of the world’s best perfume adverts, it’s evident that these commercials are not merely an advertisement. No, instead, these are like mini-movies that tell a story and really play down the actual fragrance until the last minute.
Look at the Light Blue advert we spoke about; if you’d never seen it before, you’d have no idea it was trying to sell you a fragrance until the last shot. Up until that point, you’ve already been drawn in by the beautiful models, enchanting music, and stunning scenery.
The same could be said about the Sauvage commercial with Johnny Depp. The whole time you are watching one of Hollywood’s greatest playing out a scene as if you were in the movie theater watching Pirates of the Caribbean. It’s only once the short film ends that you discover exactly what is going on.
Could this be the smartest marketing hack in the business? Emotionally involving the viewer up to the point that they couldn’t care whether you were trying to sell them a fragrance, a car, or even a timeshare on the Florida coast. If nothing else, it’s effective.
What’s more, when you look at some of the perfume commercials I have discussed in this article, it feels as though they’re timeless. Ads from 20,30, even 40 years ago are still easily recognized today and are even deemed as classics. You don’t see that with ads about candy bars or life insurance, do you? Well, not very often.
No, the classic perfume ad could be considered as one of the few art forms in marketing. Some are fun and lighthearted while others are enough to send your mind into a frenzy but one thing they all have in common is that they’ll stick in your mind for the rest of time.
Frequently Asked Questions On Perfume Ads
Why are fragrance commercials so weird?
One of the most obvious theories as to why perfume commercials are so strange is that it makes them stand out in your mind. You may not instantly want to buy a fragrance that you see on TV but when the time comes, you may find yourself asking what was that fragrance advert with the clown? Et voila. You’ve just bought the perfume.
Why are perfume adverts so pretentious?
Perfume is meant to be a luxurious item. For this reason, perfumers show off their wares using concepts based around luxury, elegance, and sophistication. The idea behind this is that the consumer will fall into the belief that they too will be just as classy when they wear the fragrance.