Forget the wonder of Woolies, Christmas advertising for me was always about one thing – perfume. And none of your Tweed by Yardley nonsense- I mean the classy stuff.
I remember one Christmas flicking madly between ITV and Channel 4 just to try and catch the latest soupçon of surrealist nonsense from Jean-Paul Goude. From the manic spurned beauties in the first Egoiste ad to the whimsical folly of Vanessa Paradis swinging naked in a birdcage for Coco, via some bloke literally starting a fight in an empty room, Goude was the undisputed Michelangelo of the artistic perfume commercial, with the House of Chanel as his patron.
Calvin Klein was my other favorite, first exploring the demented depths of eighties Obsession, through a David Lynch period , moving on to slightly pervier take with young Kate Moss. Calvin also delivered a nice line in aspirational existentialism, with Christie Turlington musing deeply for Eternity, on a windswept beach somewhere faraway. In fact there was always a bit of beach wandering and pondering to be done, Dior with Fahrenheit had a bash at it , and of course Davidoff Cool Water also loved a bit of it, even venturing into the eponymous briny when things got hot.
As time went on the models became a bit raunchier and the budgets became bigger, but by that time I had started working in advertising and had been told unequivocally the only decent perfume ad ever was Ridley Scott’s for Chanel No 5.
I also learned that this little commercial subculture was actually nothing to do with real advertising and actually only fit for spoofing. Like this…..
Colin Lamberton is the creative director at Arnold Amsterdam. In 2008 Colin moved to Amsterdam and has worked with Grey Amsterdam prior to joining Arnold Amsterdam. Colin studied Economics and University College London and Graphic Design at Richmond. He met his creative partner, Seyoan Vela, at the advertising course at Hounslow Borough College; they both started their career in 1993 at Lowe London, and founded St Luke’s in 1995.
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