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Fragrance and personal care

Dolce & Gabbana’s new Light Blue ad virtually indistinguishable from previous efforts

May 2, 2017

Dolce & Gabbana's latest video campaign is so similar to previous video spots for the same product, they are almost indistinguishable


Italian fashion label Dolce & Gabbana’s latest video campaign shines a light on its famous fragrance, Light Blue, but the accompanying marketing material verges on the repetitive.

While the fashion house has wisely not changed much of its beloved fragrance since its debut, the same cannot be said for how it promotes the scent. Dolce & Gabbana’s latest video campaign for the new version of Light Blue, captured by fashion photographer Mario Testino, is almost identical to previous campaigns with little changed between them.

"Dolce & Gabbana has certainly established a theme for their Light Blue Eau Intense campaign," said Lexy Wright, marketing manager at Pixlee, San Francisco. "By bringing back the same models and recreating what is nearly the exact same story line as their past promotional campaign, they are sending a message that Light Blue will bring people back wanting more."

Light Blue Intense
While Dolce & Gabbana’s Light Blue fragrance debuted more than a decade ago, it has maintained a devoted following for years. The brand periodically updates the fragrance, as it has done this year with the new Light Blue Intense.

The fragrance comes in two versions for both men and women. Inspired by the shimmering Mediterranean Sea and the Italian island of Capri, the bottles are a frosted blue glass.

Dolce & Gabbana changed very little for the fragrance. The bottles remain the same as well as the scent with only some minor difference from previous versions.

But while keeping things the same might be an effective strategy for the product itself, the accompanying promotional video is so similar to previous videos the differences are hard to notice at all.

The original marketing video for Light Blue features a man and a woman relaxing at sea by a cliff in the Mediterranean. They make eyes at each other, both wearing clean white swimsuits as the camera mulls over their tanned bodies in the sun.

At the end of the video, the two embrace, and just before things go from PG-13 to R, a director abruptly yells cut and the film ends.

But watching the original 2007 video and the 2017 video side by side, it is hard to tell which is which.

The video for Light Blue Intense is almost identical with only final shot changed. Even the male model is the same man in both videos.

Any difference is so slight that it begs the question of why even make a new video in the first place if nothing changes?

Here is the new video.

Light Blue's new video

And here is the original.

Light Blue's original video

Last year, Dolce & Gabbana released a winter version of the scent with almost the same video transplanted to a winter setting, but keeping almost everything else identical (see story).

Recycled material
There may be some merit in recreating classic ad campaigns for new products, especially if the campaigns themselves are iconic in some way.

But that does not seem to be the case with Light Blue. The campaign is well-crafted, but features many standard luxury marketing images: attractive people, leisurely activity, sexual tension and a Mediterranean setting.

The only bit that really stands out from the ad is the comedic cut at the end. But when a campaign is this standard, there is hardly a reason to recreate it.

A new spin on classic themes of the ad campaign could be an interesting way to keep the messaging the same while mixing things up and keeping them fresh.

The winter version of the video ad is almost the same as well

Likewise, Dolce & Gabbana would have been better served with something completely new, such as the animated ad the brand created last year for the holidays.

Nostalgia runs high during the holiday season and Dolce & Gabbana is tapping into that sentiment to explore its perfumes and colognes as if they were family members. Much of Dolce & Gabbana’s marketing communications center on familial bonds, whether that be large Italian families or the relationship between mother and child (see story).

Relying on rehashes of the same campaign year after year is bound to leave customers with a feeling of déjà vu, rather than curiosity.

"The strategy of sticking to what sells is safe, but can potentially limit room for the brand to expand its reach," Ms. Wright said. "Customers are always looking for brands to connect with them in new ways, so they could potentially be missing and losing audience members who are looking for a more unique connection."