Let’s start by discussing the original, titled “There You Are.” The black and white ad features Mr. Angelina Jolie, long-maned and bearded, clad in a collared button-down and standing in a corner. Hands in pockets, dignity in the dirt, Pitt proceeds to discuss … nothing in particular. Here’s the text:
“It’s not a journey. Every journey ends but we go on. The world turns and we turn with it. Plans disappear. Dreams take over. But wherever I go, there you are. My luck, my fate, my fortune. Chanel No. 5. Inevitable.”
Before Coco C. could crawl out of her Swiss tomb and say “Huh?” the folks at "SNL" spotted a hit.
In a series of parody videos this weekend, cast member Taran Killam impersonates Pitt, the first male face of the classic women’s scent. Pitt was reportedly paid $7 million for the role.
But instead of repping $100 parfum, Killam talks up Taco Bell, dog condoms and a tattoo removal shop. At one point, he starts making up words. “Magnificus,” anyone?
The French government has reported that a bottle of Chanel No. 5 is sold somewhere in the world every 30 seconds, with retail sales estimated at more than $100 million a year. So, how did one of the world’s most elite products go from Marilyn Monroe’s bed to joining such laughably bad commercials such as the furniture mini-mall rapper and Vince the Slap Chop guy?
That’s anyone’s guess.
When branding expert and Global Icons founder Jeff Lotman first saw the Pitt video, he said he “thought it was a little lame.”
But the end effect for Chanel will be positive, he said. The parodies give the brand public attention, “which is everything you could really want” as a company, he said.
“Chanel has been around for a long time,” he said. “It’s timeless, it’s classy, it’s beautiful and it would take a lot for the brand to be severely tarnished. Maybe the ad doesn’t strike the right note, but breaking through the clutter and being talked about is what really matters.”