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The Scent of Cheese

The holidays are upon us, and so is a visual assault on our sensibilities, courtesy of TV commercials from Paco Rabanne, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Versace and other purveyors of all things nasal. I didn’t notice the inundation in previous years like I have this year, despite the fact that most of the spots are at least a year old. Apparently Macy’s has opened up the funding spigots, because when these commercials air on TV, all of these spots are tagged with the big red-star sign-off.

Yes, they’re trying to sell a scent with visuals and sound, and yes, people buy scents to increase their sex appeal, so it is natural that we’re going to see a lot of suggestive imagery of beautiful, toned bodies. I should point out that I have no problem with suggestive imagery of beautiful, toned bodies, per se. However, there is such an overwhelming theme of over-the-top, cornball, sexist absurdity running through all of these spots that it becomes either laughable or offensive. Or both.

Let’s start with one of the tamer spots, which features model Candice Swanepoel carousing with Versace perfume like it’s an orb from Woody Allen’s “Sleeper.” Don’t know Sleeper? Here’s the scene from the movie where Woody, disguised as a robot, passes around the drug of the future:   

Now here’s Candace with Versace’s “Bright Crystal”:

Here’s one for a Paco Rabanne scent called “1 Million” that features a spidery male model who keeps his nubile sex slave in a bank vault, where he can undress her with his magical powers: 

For the ladies and the men who are so inclined, here’s a guy who’s laid off the carbs for a few months while taking archery lessons, thanks to Versace Eros:

Paco Rabanne strikes again with this commercial for Invictus. It’s one with something for everyone who remembers the good old days when a well-oiled guy could impress the large, ornamental, orgasmic female gods with their magical distain for their marble opponents in the Roman arena prior to claiming their reward. You’ll never guess what the reward is. Spoiler alert: it’s a locker room full of women draped in silk:

I was going to also add in the spot Cate Blanchett did for Si by Giorgio Armani, but it just made me kind of sad, because, you know, I thought she was a real actress. Ah, she probably donated the money to charity. 

~ Adam Schnitzler, COO, The S3 Agency


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