The one I didn’t know I wanted
Last week during the hectic afternoon of fieldwork and research for our client, I was stopped by the images of a great looking man staring at Gisele Bundchen. It was a dreary evening, everyone was rushing home, so was I, but I stopped in front of a TV screen in the shop window of a perfume store to watch a beautiful world I wanted to jump into. It was sort of sci fi to me. I wanted to be that girl. I didn’t even think about the perfume, but focused on the crazy Great Gatsby world outside of my present reach.
The next day after I showered and put on my perfume, I went out to run some errands before work. As I withdrew my money from the bank machine, I was drawn to Chanel’s logo and its store that was right there in front of me. I walked in and didn’t even ask for my favorite Chanel’s perfume – Chance – but went directly for N°5. I remembered then that Chanel N°5 was my first perfume. I got it from my great aunt who was the most stylish lady I have ever met. She taught me that a girl should always have two high quality things – eyeliner and a perfume. I was a fifteen year old wearing Chanel N°5 and knew how to apply eyeliner (but I didn’t for a couple of years).
This was all going through my mind and then it hit me, I can’t wear the same scent as I did when I was fifteen. I told the saleswoman that I changed my mind that I don’t feel like that scent, and that’s when she surprised me by telling me that the scent has changed a bit. I tried the new old fragrance and loved it immediately because it was fresher and bolder but still close to my memory. I didn’t even check the price, just went for the purchase.
It was so smart of people at Chanel to have created a newer version of this perfume because of people like me, who wore it some 20 years ago and didn’t feel like going back to the past. Perfumes just like tastes take you back immediately to the past.
When I got to work and checked the ad again, I realized I was much more at awe with it while watching it in a hectic surrounding. Still, I loved that moment of being whisked away from the present and taken into the fictional world, far away from the crowded ordinary street and hurried people, watching the images about the life of a woman who wears Chanel N°5. It reminded me of the book I read that was published years ago in 1972, a book by J. Berger. He wrote that ads function on the level of the daydream. This felt like a daydream for female watchers. The sign value of it is that the wearers of the perfume will feel like her even if they don’t live that life.