Chanel Takes 5


In its desire to attract attention from younger consumers, Chanel is launching a new ad campaign for No. 5 almost five years after Baz Luhrmann and Nicole Kidman were featured in what was arguably the priciest advertisement ever. Chanel has to be hoping that the upcoming mini-movie in the No.5 series will boost the brand as the Luhrmann-Kidman ad did in 2004 – with a 30 percent initial sales hike and an almost ten percent rise in brand awareness among young consumers. While No. 5 remains the bestselling perfume in France, Italy, and China, in the U.S. it is fourth. Where a national network TV campaign with Kiera Knightly similarly propelled Chanel’s Coco Mademoiselle to second place in the U.S., executives hope that this campaign will similarly bolster No. 5 sales although, with the economy as it stands, estimates remain conservative.

Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and starring Audrey Tautou, who first captivated moviegoers in Jeunet’s 2001 “Amélie,” and model Travis Davenport, the upcoming two-minute-and-25-second ad reportedly features the duo en route from Paris to Istanbul aboard the Orient Express. Set to Billie Holiday’s “I’m a Fool to Want You,” the couple first cross on the train where later, Davenport sleeplessly wanders to Tautou’s cabin. After missing a riverboat in Istanbul, Tautou photographs the missed boat from another ship, revealing Davenport to be on its deck. The advertisement ends with the couple embracing while standing atop Chanel’s famed logo in a mosaic on the floor.

With No.5 references subtly dispersed throughout the advertisement – everywhere from the numbers of the train platforms to Tautou’s cabin number– the commercial was quite the mega-production. In fact, a crew of 250 worked for three weeks last May, filming everywhere from Paris to Istanbul, as well as in train stations in central France and in Nice. It is estimated by industry sources that the global campaign cost as much as $25 million.

The full length mini-movie will debut on the Internet on May 5 —; 88 years to the day that Coco Chanel first introduced No.5, which went on to become the world’s best-selling scent. The advertisment, also produced in three television versions of 60, 45 and 30 seconds, will be shown on network television in the U.S. this upcoming fall.