Perfume is supposed to make you sexy, seductive and sultry.
That's the impression, at least, from the women's perfume commercials that regularly feature good-looking men and women in cliched, romantic settings — think models gazing longingly at the camera or parading down quiet streets, eliciting double-takes from men.
It's as if beauty companies haven't realized that fragrance can be about fulfilling a personal need, or harnessing nostalgia, or even just covering up B.O. "Some people use perfume for their own, self-centered pleasure that has nothing to do with pleasing others," perfumer Frédéric Malle told Refinery29. For advertisers, on the other hand, it's about one thing: arousing the sexual desires of the opposite sex.
Take for example, Dior's 2011 commercial for J'Adore, in which Charlize Theron begins by taking off her jewelry as she walks down a long hallway, eventually stripping down to nothing. Or consider Ralph Lauren's 2014 commercial for Midnight Romance, where two models frolic on the beach in what we can only assume ends in beach sex (which we all know is highly overrated). Then there was Tom Ford's famous bottle-over-the-crotch shot, which sold sex more blatantly than maybe any other ad.
While we're all in favor of a little seduction, women aren't always looking to seduce men. In fact, some of us have greater concerns in our day-to-day lives.
So in the spirit of reimagining, we asked a few twenty-something women, as well as using our own
aggravations imaginations: If perfume was really marketed towards women, what would the commercials sound like?
"This perfume has a scent so alluring it'll make Mark Wahlberg want to lean in and give you Eskimo kisses."
"This perfume neutralizes all your heinous body odor like Febreeze on those days you've forgotten your deodorant."
"This perfume has a time-release feature that hits you with calming lavender around 4 p.m. in the workday."
"This perfume never wears off, even after you've sweat through your clothes, worked a 12-hour day and ridden three forms of public transportation."
"This scent changes when the sun goes down, so you've got a crisp office-ready scent during the day and a sultry smell that turns guys' heads when you walk into happy hour."
"This perfume automatically intensifies when your office crush walks by your desk."
"This scent comes with a lifetime guarantee of 'will never ever overwhelm others.'"
"This scent will automatically sense in-laws in your vicinity and adjust to something appropriately floral and ladylike."
"This perfume helps pick up your mood with a burst of baking cookies/fresh-cut grass/[fill in your favorite smell] here when your commute has been dragging on for hours, you missed your exit and can't find parking."
"This perfume helps mask accidental farts in public. No shame."
"This perfume's scent acts like a force field from unwanted mates, by magically smelling amazing to you but awful to them."
"This perfume only takes one spritz to cover your entire body."
"This perfume contains the powers of seduction... to seduce the client into signing that multi-million dollar deal."
Because perfume ads should understand what a well-rounded, modern woman really needs.