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Dolce & Gabbana portrays unrequited love in fragrance video

August 23, 2012


Italian label Dolce & Gabbana released a social video dedicated to its women’s and men’s fragrances that is likely to add an element of lust similar to other scent-related campaigns from luxury brands.

The black-and-white video stars French model, actress and the Pour Femme ambassador Laetitia Casta as she recalls time spent with a lover and debates whether or not to leave everything behind for him. The fragrance campaign for Pour Femme for women and Pour Homme for men will likely be spread via print as well.

“Dolce & Gabbana is trying to make the fragrance sexy, provocative and exotic – emphasis on the sexy – to a younger demographic that relies on social media for information about new products, and aspires to the carefree, glamorous and uninhibited life of the characters featured in the video,” said John Casey, founder of Freshfluff, New York.

“It is easy to convey the look and feel of apparel and accessories, but clearly, you cannot smell a fragrance through a computer screen or mobile device – at least not yet,” he said. “Thus, through the video, the viewer gets a visual and aesthetic sense of the smell and its sexiness.

“Dolce & Gabbana has established itself as one of the preeminent sexy and exotic luxury brands, and that is reflected in the video about its new fragrance.”

Mr. Casey is not affiliated with Dolce & Gabbana, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

Dolce & Gabbana did not respond before press deadline.

Romance in the air

The Dolce & Gabbana fragrance dropped Aug. 22. It was filmed in Sicily in the village of Erice and on beach of La Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro by Peruvian photographer Mario Testino. 

The 45-second video stars Ms. Casta and her love interest played by American model and actor Noah Mills. It is set to "Città Vuota" by Mina.

Pour Femme and Pour Homme fragrance video

At first, Ms. Casta’s character is seen as a guest at a wedding. The bride and her father dance inside a circle of people, but Ms. Casta appears preoccupied, sitting on the outskirts of the group.

The video transitions to show her thoughts, which have drifted to her time spent with Mr. Mills.

First, the two embrace as Mr. Mills drives a convertible.

The next scene shows the characters embracing on the beach.

Back in reality, Ms. Casta leaves the wedding for a moment and the man meets her in his convertible.

The film ends as the woman contemplates going with the man or returning to her ordinary life.

Dolce & Gabbana described the video as “a scene of fairytale romance, as the backdrop for a tale of love and transgression, like a gem of ancient storytelling.”

The label began teasing the fragrance film Aug. 14 when it posted the first trailer to its Facebook page.

First video trailer

There were five 10-second trailers posted on the days leading up to the film’s release that, if put together, showed the entire 45-second film.

Second video trailer

Italian ambiance

The fragrance video seems to complement Dolce & Gabbana’s fall/winter 2012 ad campaign that focuses on its Italian heritage.

Fall/winter 2012 campaign

Both center on an Italian family in Sicily. Ms. Casta could be a character in the campaign that wishes to leave and indulge in a romantic fantasy.

When marketing a fragrance, luxury brands seem to take the opportunity to push an edgier message.

For instance, Chanel and retailer Harrods went for a dark message to market fragrances.

French fashion house Chanel lent a dark feel to the Net-A-Porter ecommerce site with a black homepage skin and side tower ad that showed off its new Coco Noir fragrance (see story).

London-based department store Harrods pushed its online-exclusive fragrances in an e-catalog, the theme of which was rich, dark fragrances (see story).

Also, brands such as Giorgio Armani, Tom Ford and Gucci seem to use sex appeal to sell fragrances via television, print and digital channels.

Recently, Italian fashion house Armani marketed a new twist on its Acqua di Giò fragrance in a black-and-white brand film inspired by summer’s heat and featuring brand model Simon Nessman (see story).

In addition, Gucci continues to push its sex-fueled campaign for its Gucci Guilty fragrance via multiple channels (see story).

Fragrance lines allow aspirational consumers to buy into luxury brands, so marketers can be a bit louder in their brand message to reach a wider audience.

Dolce & Gabbana used multiple trailers to push its video on its social media accounts, but the label could have created greater mystery behind the campaign so that more consumers would tune in to see the full version.

“The video is provocative, particularly with the beach scene, and the brand is clearly relying on the old axiom that sex sells,” Mr. Casey said. “The four 10-second teasers that were posted prior to the release pretty much gave the whole 45-second video and story line away.

“Thus, there was not much in the way of an element of surprise when the entire video was revealed, which might come as a big disappointment to those who clicked on the previous teasers and were expecting more,” he said. “If you are leaving the viewer disappointed, they are probably less likely get excited about the video and re-post it.

“The teaser strategy was probably more effective a year or two ago, but these days the consumer has ‘been there and done that’ and now just wants to see the whole piece.”

Final Take
Tricia Carr, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York