Thursday, September 13, 2007


Normally, I like Tom Ford. Actually, that’s wrong - I love him. His reign at Gucci was nothing short of genius and his dabbling since, although not always to my taste, has retained that same ethos and feeling. But then came the adverts for his new fragrance for men...

I saw this first ad a few weeks ago on Brand DNA and at the time had been rendered quite speechless, not just because of the content of the advert, but also because of who was behind it. True, Tom Ford has always used sex to sell and it’s not always been subtle, but until now it hasn’t been downright crass. I don’t have any problem with sex being used to sell, and let’s face it, in fragrance and deodorant ads it’s almost a given that there will be some link made to romance or sex, that’s fair enough. But this?

But perhaps it was just a blip. I put it out of my memory never to be thought of again so as not to blemish my love of the great man. Phew, worshiping still intact. But then, just when I’d forgotten all about it, I stumbled upon another execution today.

I have absolutely no moral objection to the ad. It’s not that I find it offensively objectifying to women, either. Okay, it certainly does objectify a woman, but it’s not the first advert in this vein. It’s not even the fact that it looks as though it’s come straight out of the 80s, although this factor does disturb me quite a bit. It’s the sheer crassness of the adverts which completely put me off. As Adrants put it so well “Ford removes all pretense in his latest fragrance campaign and celebrates what every man wants: to f*@*.”

And I guess that’s why many people, not just men may I add, do buy perfumes and aftershaves, to attract the opposite sex and eventually lure them into bed. But while Lynx does this with humour and other brands do it with romance or at least with a little subtlety, this campaign just rams it down your throat, and not in a nice way.

A Tom Ford Beauty Spokesman said of the campaign “...we decided that a sharper, more graphic approach clearly communicated the bold and provocative mood of the fragrance." Hmm, bold – check; provocative, double check. But what about stylish and sophisticated? Poor show Mr Ford, poor show.

And why should this correlate in any way to you loving marketing? Reason number 20: Sometimes it can actually put you off buying a product and in the process can save you a little money. That’s more a positive for the consumers I guess and a warning to the advertisers.

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