Not so long ago, making a fragrance was kind of a big deal. Ingredients were sourced differently, not always synthetic and created in a lab as many are today. Far, far fewer perfumes were launched in a year than the hundreds we see released nowadays.
Stop into any department store today and you'll see not only Gucci Flora but its many flankers, offshoots based around the concept and recognizable name. How many Viva la Juicys are there now? How many versions of Angel have been released?
Celebrity fragrances are no different. Elizabeth Taylor was one of the first to develop a fragrance, but it seems that lately anyone remotely famous can slap their name on a bottle of perfume, no prestige necessary.
Some celebrity fragrances are good--I quite like J Lo Glow, for example--some, not so much. But they sell! Paris Hilton has over 15 perfumes. Wrap your brain around that, or better yet: go visit your local Marshall's. It's a breeding ground for celebrity perfumes.
With fragrance promotion comes an ad campaign and, if you're lucky, a commercial. Classic perfume commercials usually involve a couple frolicking in a meadow, a girl on a beach, a mysterious woman on a quest all over a glittering city. But when you're famous, you have to inject your ad with a bit more Hollywood razzle dazzle.
Here are a few of my personal favorites. (Side note: While watching all of these on YouTube, I fell into a weird K-hole of perfume collection videos and watched a bunch of teenagers babbling about all their perfumes. Super-weird.)
Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds
White Diamonds ("the intriguing fragrance") is the OG perfume commercial from the unforgettable, insanely beautiful Elizabeth Taylor.
In it, Elizabeth, surrounded by flashbulbs with her jewels glittering atop swelling cleavage and her black hair in a massive cloud around that famous face, removes her giant earrings and coos, "These have always brought me luck" to her gambling man.
This commercial still airs in its classic, if a bit outdated, glory. Elizabeth may no longer be with us, but adorable old men are still buying White Diamonds gift sets for their wives come holiday season.
Britney Spears Curious
Britney is my everything. Curious was her very first scent, created with Elizabeth Arden, but they've released a whole boatload under the Britney umbrella since.
This commercial was filmed in Britney's ultra-sexy and slinky "In the Zone" era, right before she met Kevin and all hell broke loose. It stars Britney, in a white tank and bootcut jeans, checking into a hotel room next to a hunky dude. From their shared wall, they imagine a passionate romance in approximately six seconds of dolls kissing and flowers blooming set to climaxing violins. (That’s what my last relationship looked like.) "Do you dare?" whispers Britney at the end, staring forlornly at the wall and her would-be suitor.
ALL of Britney's commercials are stellar, but Curious remains my eternal love. I used to have it listed as my "favorite TV show" on my Facebook.
One Direction Our Moment
One Direction are SO ADORABLE. For some reason I am powerfully attracted to Harry Styles. I'm almost 26. Maybe that's payback for never having a crush on anyone in NSYNC or BSB when it was appropriate to do so.
Anyway, this commercial is all sorts of precious. It's set to "My Favorite Things," for God's sake. I imagine the concept was "Oh, we're just some lads having a laugh on the set! Look at us twirl each other around in spinning chairs charming the pants off you! We know you're thinking dirty thoughts about us because we're so handsome and cheeky and we all have cute British names like Zayn! Tee-hee! Are we gay? Are we straight? Aren’t we the cutest things you’ve ever seen in your life?"
If this doesn't make you crack a teeny smile, I don't believe you have a soul.
Chanel No. 5 featuring Nicole Kidman
I know No. 5 isn't a celebrity fragrance. DUHHHH. But this commercial is so beautiful it has to be included.
It's basically Moulin Rouge 2.0 starring Nicole Kidman as an actress on the run who falls in love with some gorgeous regular Joe to the strains of "Clair de Lune." I could watch her run through Times Square in that insane pink feathered dress all day long.
"Has she forgotten? I know … I will not," he whispers once she's vanished back to her Hollywood life. "Her kiss … her smile … her perfume." GAHHHHHHHH it's everywhere I want to be.
Shania Twain Starlight
I'm only including this because A) this perfume was created by Stetson (a cologne that makes me weak in the knees) and B) I have a theory that EVERYONE in the world likes at least one Shania Twain song. What's yours? Tell me in the comments! (Mine is "Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?")
Shania hits all the tropes of a good perfume commercial in this one: floaty dress, gorgeous sky, breathy voiceover. This is because Shania Twain is perfect. That is not up for debate.
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill Soul2Soul
OK, OK, I know you guys probably hate me for including COUNTRY ARTISTS in this round-up, but this commercial is really sweet!
Famed photographer Bruce Weber directed country superstars Tim McGraw and his wife of many years, Faith Hill, in this ad for their dual scents. Maybe it's full of fragrance ad cliches (black and white, empty meadow, sun filtering through trees), but Elvis sings "Love Me Tender" gently in the background as Tim and Faith romp around being adorable and counting the money they’re gonna make off this perfume and its accompanying tour. I wonder if they sold it alongside tour tees.
And they're still happily married, unlike other couples who’ve made fragrance ads. (I'm rooting for you, Khloe and Lamar. I really am. PLEASE MAKE IT WORK.)
Which celebrity commercials are your favorites? Do you wear a celebrity fragrance? I won't judge, I totally own like four Britneys and one Jessica Simpson. And I REALLY want to try Kim Kardashian Pure Honey.