Creative Pick: Kenzo by Spike Jonze

Posted on: Tuesday 04 October 2016 | Caroline Manson

In the third in the IAB’s Creative Pick blog series, Caroline Manson, Marketing Manager at IAB UK, explains how breaking the rules can work.

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Recently, The Drum ran a poll asking people what they’re most annoying ad stereotypes were – if you want to see the full list (and have a little chuckle) check out the #adstereotypes hashtag on Twitter. Many of them were about bumbling, useless dads, or swooshing hair, but the top one was really caught my eye. Perfume ads. Here’s what a few of you had to say:

  • my #adstereotypes pet peeve is scantily clad women rolling on the floor/bed to advertise perfume (@Kate_Dickenson)
  • when everything from yogurts to holidays to perfume are narrated by a woman in a seductive whisper #adstereotypes (@PK_Anderson) 
  • A-list actors looking overly glamorous & pouty with soft lighting - always ends up being a lame perfume ad #adstereotypes (@thecassiecass) 

It seems we as an ad industry are fed up with perfume ads. A woman walking through a crowded room, dark mood lighting mostly shot out of focus, and then almost kissing some man in a suit…

Well, boy did Kenzo throw this rule book out of the window recently. You may have seen this campaign – it came out at the end of August and already has 3.4M views. It starts with a pretty woman, Margaret Qualley, in black tie, at some event. Ok, so far pretty standard, but then… She makes her excuses, goes outside, and then “Mutant brain” by Sam Spiegel & Ape Drums feat. Assassin starts playing. She suddenly breaks out into some crazy dance, running around the venue, having a play-fight with some random man, shooting lasers from her fingers and then jumping through a giant eye. 

Its crazy. Absolutely mental. There is no grace, its not a woman gliding along a hallway covered in diamonds with a French voice-over. It’s just a normal girl dancing to a pretty cool track and being a bit weird. And it’s gone down a storm. People love it. It’s the sort of ad that gets better every time you watch it, so if you have a spare 4 minutes check it out, or as @ericjstolze said on Twitter “Fun Fact: This Spike Jonze perfume ad is an hour long if you watch it 25 times in a row”.

So thank you Kenzo, you’ve proved that all perfume ads don’t have to be the same. Being different works. 

Like reading about great digital ads? The previous Creative Pick blog was on the #missingtype campaign for NHS Blood and Transplant.

Written by

Caroline Manson

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