Marilyn Monroe and CHANEL No. 5: Mini Movie

Hey Hey Perfume Posse Peeps, Portia from Australian Perfume Junkies and today I thought we could look at the re-use of Marilyn Monroe’s image in CHANEL’s ads. There has been quite a kefuffle about it ands after last years Brad Pitt extravaganza I think the crew at CHANEL wanted to go back to basics. Hit the spots where they are most remembered by their core market, men buying for their ladies. The cachet of Marilyn Monroe, finally getting the rights to use this piece of conversation and the collective consciousness surrounding Marilyn and her mystery must all be working in CHANEL’s favour.

Marilyn Monroe and CHANEL No. 5

Other people have been discussing this phenomenon in way more depth than I, if you’d like some further reading try Elena Vosnaki at Fragrantica, AVClub talks about Dead Celebrity DNA Perfume and Forbes in 2012 about Elizabeth Taylor.

Marilyn_Monroe WikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

What do you think of the reusing of dead celebs? Who would or could you use from today’s group of celebs?

My answer: It’s sad that the companies feel that these celebrities are a better bet than the current crop. I do understand that it is extremely more price reasonable to use someone’s image that is gone and that there will be no embarrassing behaviour or scandalous tit bits that haven’t already been glossed over by time, even Marilyn Monroe looks positively prim compared to some of the current celebs behavious. We are seeing some use being made of working and living actors, Charlize Theron DIOR, Eric Bana Bulgari, Cate Blanchett Armani, Kiera Knightly CHANEL, Julia Roberts Lancome, and Robert Pattinson DIOR.  There are some Celebs I think from the modern crop who would be useable though Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Nikki Reed, Taylor Lautner, any of the Hemsworths and Isla Fischer would be cool too.

Marilyn Monroe Chanel_No._5 WikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

Share your thoughts in the comments and please enjoy,
Portia xx

Marilyn Monroe & CHANEL No. 5

  • Ann says:

    Howdy, Portia! Hope you are having wonderful travels! I am not a big No. 5 fan (still trying to grow into it), but I do love Chanel overall as a house. And I think Marilyn is certainly a big improvement over tatty-looking Brad Pitt. He should have been clean-shaven, or at least worn a tux or something elegant — it IS Chanel, for heaven’s sake!

    • Portia says:

      I can’t begin to tell you how much fun we’re having. Yesterday and today we are at First In Fragrance in Germany. It’s super exciting and fun. They are all so lovely.
      Yes, the Brad Pitt debacle. I wonder if it did anyone any good, other than reminding people that CHANEL is aroundand Brad is a tosser

  • Tom says:

    Dear Chanel Marketers:

    Not to be didactic, but Marilyn’s apartment on Doheny is not and was not in Beverly Hills. It was in the then unincorporated part of Los Angeles County that in 1984 became West Hollywood. West Hollywood is rather proud of that fact and does not appreciate it being taken from them and accredited to Beverly Hills.

    Marilyn did live in Beverly Hills in a house at 508 Palm Drive when she was married to Joe DiMaggio.

    FYI- her room-mate was Shelley Winters, who climbed to give her the idea for the open-mouthed smile. Shelley ended up buying a duplex in Oakhurst Drive at the corner of what is now called Civic Center (then “Little” Santa Monica) and live there until her death. In her autobiography, she mentions the train tracks that used to run between “big” and “little” Santa Monica that served the businesses in the “industrial triangle” like the wonder bread factory, saying that even as an Oscar winner, she was still “on the wrong side of the tracks.”

  • tammy says:

    I don’t care one way or other about celebrities in ads…. and they certainly don’t influence my purchasing in any way. And since Ms. Monroe famously did love Numero Cinco, I have no real issue with them using the footage of her. But I do get a tinge of sadness whenever I see her, so it kind of defeats the purpose (for me personally) of them using her to sell anything.

    • Portia says:

      Hey Tammy,
      That is interesting. I always feel a little sad when I see Marilyn too. What a waste of a life a too short life. I wonder what she could have become?
      Portia x

  • AnnieA says:

    Using dead celebrities? I call it “necro-marketing”, and by that you can guess I am not a fan…

  • Musette says:

    Alas, Marilyn ceased to be a person (for all but her family and friends) long before she ceased to be – the culture of stardom, back then, was to cloak the actor in ‘image’ – it wasn’t until way later that a lot of personal info about stars became more widely known. So dead or alive, that’s probably no more Norma Jean than anything else.

    But Chanel isn’t allying itself with Norma Jean -it’s allying itself with the unassailable glamour of Marilyn Monroe, back when she was Marilyn Monroe, with actual footage from that era, where the perfume actually played a part (no weird photoshopping of the bottle into the image, thank Floyd). I much prefer this to that ultra-creepy Dior spot.

    I would really dislike seeing current celebs being used to front No5. There is such beauty and majesty to that scent (esp. the parfum) – it transcends time and place, something current celebs certainly cannot do.

    blahblahblahblahblabberationshutUPMusette! 😀


    • Portia says:

      Heya Musette,
      Interesting that we both pposted about “Le Monster” this week. I hope your vintage parfum is keeping you warm.
      Yes, I had a best mate in school who was completely obsesed with Mailyn. He would make me watch her movies and read life stories, there were constant discussions about the death, the Kennedy romance, the police reports. It was super interesting but she was never treated as real in these discussions. It was the discussion of a fantasy. I learned a LOT about her and her lives though, very interesting and creepy.
      Come on, what about…….
      No you are probably right.
      Portia xx

  • Gwenyth says:

    I’m a consumer who is actually not attracted to so-called “celebrity endorsements”. More often than not, seeing a “celebrity” as a frontsperson will send me running the other way. I continue to be amazed and somewhat repelled by the slavish devotion some “celebrities” receive from the general public.

    I am, however, attracted to clever ads: the ones which are unusual, humorous, or thought-provoking. I agree with Edward (above) in praising the Bvlgari ads – beautiful, and eyecatching as they are.
    As long as Chanel maintains their tradition of elegance and beauty – that is what attracts me – I will be a loyal customer of their most wonderful cosmetics and fragrances.

    • Portia says:

      OK I definitely need to see this BVLGARI ad. You guys have me curious Gwyneth,
      As soon as I finish my replies I’ll have a squiz,
      Portia xx

  • Edward says:

    I’d rather have them give the job to Jennifer Lawrence, actually. I think she fits the part. It would really bring No. 5 out there. Right now it’s just saving face, after taking a risk with Mr. Pitt. It’s super creepy to use a dead celebrity. One who was quite exploited. They’re still auctioning of xrays of her teeth, like what the eff. Granted I liked Bvlgaris Omnia ads, the one without the celebs. The images are beautiful, real art and the bottles nicely incorporated. Give em a look!

    • Portia says:

      Jennifer Lawrence would be a coup right now and she would bring everything bang up to date.
      It’s interesting that in Asia many of the BIG stars would do ads long before they ever started doing them in the western world. The celebs would be modeling everything from jewellery to frags. While travelling years ago we used to question why they did it.
      Portia xx

  • The Smelly Vagabond says:

    Dear Portia,

    I’d much rather no celebrities were used at all. As it were, the majority of the world is gripped in the throes of celebrity worship – what makes one a celebrity? Their good looks? Most certainly not how they smell. Fragrance companies can afford to be more creative with their advertising, using product design or graphic design to sell their wares. Or eschew the whole notion that you even need an image to sell, and use a wholly auditory advert instead, for example!

    • Portia says:

      To be honest Smelly Vagabond I am surprised at how much people dislike having a celeb as the image for a frag. Did you see the CHANEL online ads that were talking and pencil drawings? I thought then quite clever.
      Portia xx

  • eldarwen22 says:

    I really don’t like celebrities in perfume commercials or any type of commercial period. If they are established and well known (Brad Pitt, Jennifer Lopez) then they really shouldn’t be in commercials. Doing a commercial is pretty much a sign that a career has kind of failed or is flagging. I do love the no. 5 movie/commercials though especially the one with Audrey Tautou. Even though she was in Coco Before Chanel, she isn’t that well known.

    • Portia says:

      Wow! That is an interesting and thought provoking view Eldarwen22,
      I had never thought about a careers downward slide reflecting in their choice of becoming a face. You have made me think.
      Portia xx

      • Musette says:

        My own opinion is the reverse – these people cannot stand to NOT be in the spotlight, so any reasonable venue that doesn’t diminish their starpower is viable for them. Brad’s stint with Chanel wasn’t evidence of any downward slide, imo – he gained enormous visibility from such a bold (albeit absurd) presentation and it didn’t hurt Chanel’s visibility any, either (again, though, it was absurd). George Clooney was castigated for heading some commercial in Japan (noodles? vacuum cleaners? toilet paper?) and he told everybody to eff off, he had a castle on Como he had to pay for! LOL!


        • SallyM says:

          lol I saw that Clooney interview and he basically said, anything to make more money was okay by him. He does ads for coffee – Nespresso – btw. On the flip side, apparently some actors such as Leonardo di Caprio have some some sort of secrecy clause thingy that stops foreign ads they’ve made from being shown to American audiences. Now that has piqued my interest… I’d love to see what’ they’re embarrassed about 🙂

          • Portia says:

            Leonardo did some watch ads in Asia and I can’t remember what elsae I’ve seen him on. We laughed at the time when we saw them, hwe looked sexy.

  • Sherri says:

    Interesting question, Portia! I am actually not fond of celebrities, either alive dead, being used to front a product, but if given the choice, as a businessperson, I would choose the dead celebrity. Celebrities like Marilyn Monroe (though I have always thought Marilyn as not representative of No. 5–Marilyn is too sensual and child-like–No. 5 is aloof and refined, more like Grace Kelly) have been idealized in peoples’ minds and, as you say, free a company from the worry of the celebrity dissing the company or being involved in any type of scandal or future unpopularity.

    If I had to choose a celebrity to front my perfume, it would depend on the image I was trying to get across. I think Angelina Jolie has a beautiful sensual face fora sexy perfume, but not necessarily an entire line. One model that I thought a perfect choice was whomever Prada used for the Prada Candy ads. Whimsical look and haircut over elegant and sensual bone structure just like Prada Candy! 🙂 Loved the Chanel snippet and your writing, as always, Portia!!

    • Portia says:

      Hey there Sherri,
      Angelina is a very good thought, lately she has been pushing all the right charity and world peace buttons, and she is drop dead gorgeous still too.
      I liked the Prada Candy girl too, that was a fun package they did.
      Portia xx