Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Smells like... hookers.

Consider, if you will, the advert for Yves Saint Laurent’s new men’s fragrance, La Nuit de L'Homme.

As befits a perfume advert, it is filmed in black and white and contains no actual information nor footage of the perfume. A mysterious man, well dressed, descends a staircase in opulent surroundings. Despite having a face that only a mother could love, and even then only if she was drunk and myopic, he turns heads. Young ladies of a groomed but conservative appearance stop dead and paw at him. They are slack-eyed and vacant, like zombies who have forgotten where the brains are. The man looks smug. The end.

There are several obvious interpretations, to whit: this man deals drugs and the vacant-eyed ladies want them; this man has paid these beautiful women large quantities of cash in the past for sex, and they desperately need a new outfit. I’m going with option b – the young women last shopped in the eighties and wear satin polo necks, hair in a bun and pearls. Clearly in need of a rich Sugar Daddy, or at least a few bucks to spend on a new frock. Are they pawing him with lust, or trying to steal his wallet? We just don’t know.

Ugly bloke gets the chicks. Pheromones that’ll make her moan. Where have we seen this before? Oh yes, everywhere. It echoes the so-called Lynx effect from the nineties, where the application of a pungent antiperspirant apparently had the ability to make graceless young men irresistable to the opposite sex. While the premise was a total lie, at least the ads were amusing and meant to be so. A Lynx wearer would not have a scent that drove you wild, but might at least have a sense of humour.

But La Nuit is for those with a bigger disposable income and no sense of irony. For those with more than five bucks to spend on their daily choice of “shower-in-a-can”, we need a more expensive type of marketing bullshit, utterly devoid of any sense of the ridiculousness inherent in its claims. Just look at the advertisement on the AskMen website, where it assures us that this “rich new fragrance… is just what your night out needs: a mysterious nocturnal aura.”

I’ve lived with men who had a mysterious nocturnal aura. In most cases it was BO; in one case alcohol-related bed wetting. More befitting of an urgent visit to the doctor than a desired attribute in a man, when I think of a nocturnal aura I do not think of tuxedos. I think of adult nappies and rubber sheets.

If you have a mysterious nocturnal aura, you can get pills for that. Or at least pay someone to ignore it for the evening.

The actor in the ad is a French actor called Vincent Cassel. Despite his less than comely appearance he is married to the famed Italian sexpot, Monica Belluci. A more convincing, and accurate, advert would have been “La Nuit de L'Homme – look who I pulled, phwoar”.

Or, more realistically, La Nuit - because you’re too wealthy for a sense of humour and with this much money, you can afford escorts.


  1. La Nuit des living Dead/morts-vivants

    Now there is a scent men should wear.

    (Ideally it should be advertised by Simon Pegg and Bruce Campbell for it to be truly appreciated.)

  2. Vincent Cassell is an excellent actor.

  3. You know, I'd buy anything Bruce Campbell told me was manly, that chin!
    Vincent may indeed be a great actor, Steve, but he looks like he had the crap beaten out of him with the ugly stick. The French have an odd habit of having people who can ACT as actors. Don't they know it's all about the pretty these days?

  4. Vince C was in Dobermann, one hell of a movie. Michael Mann *wishes* he could have fetched coffee on that set.

    All aside, well written. Not enough use of the semi-colon.

  5. I just noticed that thing about the stairs. Why do perfume ads always show people going up stairs all the time? Are they trying to work up a sweat so they'll be more pungent? Or do the stairs come with the perfume? Like a free stairwell renovation with every eau de parfum and body lotion set?