February 2, 2016
French fashion house Christian Dior is writing a new narrative for its Poison fragrance line in a bid for a younger demographic’s interest.
Developed by Francois Demachy, Dior’s Poison Girl is a new addition to the fragrance range, offering a “sweet floral, scandalously delicious” scent for women with an “alluring and nonchalant femininity.” Using a sultry New York party as a backdrop, the Poison Girl campaign taps into social media culture while exploring the uninhabited femininity of today’s modern woman.
"The social media feed serves two purposes," said Romey Louangvilay, chief curator and director of digital marketing at Curate Directive, New York. "The first one being that millennials are always connected, it gives them the option to share the video with their personal networks.
"The modern consumer always has a point of view and wants to voice it," he said. "The video is designed to draw consumers in and engage with them, and the social feed is just another touchpoint for that.
"And secondly, the social feed helps Dior's message and video get out through the shares. It's design to get fans to share the message."
Mr. Louangvilay is not affiliated with Dior, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.
Dior did not respond by press deadline.
After a brief teaser on social media that included campaign stills and a video clip, Dior released the full version of the Poison Girl effort on Feb. 1, with a longer edit shared to DiorMag.
The campaign, starring French-American actress Camille Rowe, was directed by music producer and graphic designer So Me. With a narrative aesthetic geared toward a younger consumer, Dior’s selection of So Me as a directorial collaboration is fitting as he has worked with Justice, Kanye West and Kid Cudi.
Described as a “manifesto for seduction 2.0,” the Poison Girl campaign is set in the rooftop nightclub, the Boom Boom Room in New York. With pulsing lights, music by Brodinski and the sounds of sirens in the distance, viewers experience the “glam and extravagant, sexy and sultry” atmosphere of a Dior party.
Camille Rowe for Dior's Poison Girl fragrance
The minute-long film begins with scenes of revelers enjoying the music on the dance floor. As Ms. Rowe makes her way through the crowds and dances with fellow club-goers, a man on the outskirts of the dance floor sees her and is instantly captivated.
Following the dance floor scene, Ms. Rowe is seen exiting the club with her admirer close behind. As she ascends a illuminated pink staircase, she turns and gently pushes the man away with her heeled foot.
Next, the admirer is seen in his apartment scrolling through images of Ms. Rowe. Taking cues from social media feeds, Dior included selfies of various dress, video clips and photos of Ms. Rowe embodying a free-spirited and modern woman.
In one such video, Ms. Rowe is seen rolling on a silk duvet as she applies Dior Poison fragrance. In the following frames, Ms. Rowe steps out of her digital representation and appears in front of her admirer wearing nothing but a black bomber jacket with the words “I am poison” embroidered in pink on the back.
The video ends with Ms. Rowe coming face to face with the man from the club as her voice over says, “I am not a girl, I am poison.” The final frame introduces the fragrance as Poison Girl and reiterates Ms. Rowe’s statement in pink neon lights.
Dior Poison Girl - The new fragrance
Dior’s Poison Girl features notes of Sicilian bitter orange, a heart of May rose, Venezuelan tonka bean, sandalwood from Sri Lanka, tolu balm and an end of almond and vanilla. The juice is held in a pink bottle with the classic Poison shape, for range consistency.
For its Poison campaigns, Dior often takes a marketing stance that may be unexpected to its core consumers.
In 2014, Dior promoted its Hypnotic Poison Eau de Parfum with a darker campaign than what consumers familiar with the brand’s feminine codes might expect. Positioned with the fabled forbidden fruit, Hypnotic Poison Eau de Parfum’s campaign works to show Dior’s femininity in a more sultry light (see story).
The many faces of Dior
As with many of its fashion campaigns, Dior relies on a cast of ambassadors to represent its fragrances. Although Poison Girl is Ms. Rowe's first solo campaign for the French house, the model appeared with Robert Pattinson in the Romain Gavras-directed Dior Homme film from 2013 (see story).
To this point, Mr. Pattinson reprised his role for Dior Homme in an effort launched in January 2016. Dior appealed to consumers to break the rules in a new campaign for its Homme Intense scent.
Photographer Peter Lindbergh captured actor Mr. Pattinson, who portrays a man who never sleeps and thus lives 1,000 lives in one, which the brand explains mirrors the face’s own life, on the streets of New York. Through this, Dior is promoting not just its cologne, but also a way of living (see story).
Alongside consistency in the faces Dior chooses for its campaigns, it is increasingly important for storied houses to maintain relevancy among young consumers.
"I definitely think this is a good approach to refresh Dior's image and connect with a growing, slightly younger audience," Mr. Louangvilay said.
"The video stories is full of women empowerment, which is an important issue amongst many younger consumers today, and the video shows how the woman is in charge," he said. "The club video is a familiar scene with Dior's target demo so it relates to them."