Blog: Dear Fragrance Brands, What We Need is a Shot of Clarity | Advertising

Have you ever noticed a woman so infatuated with the scent of a man, that she gives up all her dignity to find herself in bed the next morning?

It’s the stereotypical plot in almost every perfume commercial we see.

However, recent Layer’r Shot ads have gone to great lengths to prove that female objectification is just a small fish in the dead pool of creative ideas that the category encompasses. Now that’s the glorification of rape culture!

Imagine a group of people sitting in a circle – brainstorming the meaning of the word “shooting” and discussing how to incorporate it into their campaign, to be seen during the broadcast of a match of one of the most popular sports. most respected in our country.

The ads not only shed light on the subconscious fear and disgust a woman feels when surrounded by strange men calling her name, but they also made sure to tell her that she is not safe. , even around his partner.

Did the original idea behind this ad think it would be humorous? That he would win a prize for his insinuations? Perhaps, if there was a “most derogatory” title to be awarded.

People all over social media were infuriated by the ads, and many industry professionals spoke out against them. Finally, on June 7, Layer’r Shot issued a “clarifying statement”, with little responsibility for the result generated by the ads.

However, does that take away the fact that ads like these might just influence certain cohorts of men to pursue a woman who might not even be interested?

For years, we’ve seen different perfume commercials like Ax Deodorant, Wild Stone, Old Spice, and Beardo, casually objectifying women as subjects who could be pinned down by random men who smelled like spicy wood.

However, it would be unfair to say that all of them only engaged in the exploitation of a woman’s sexuality to make sales.

Wild Stone, another brand that hasn’t smelled a problem for a long time, launched a campaign for Wild Stone Code, in March 2022. This film featured a man complimenting another man on his perfume in an elevator. This ad, while non-sexual, made its point very well.

He Deodorants also launched a campaign featuring actor Tiger Shroff. Again, it was a smart campaign that got its message across without making anyone a sex symbol.

In rarer commercials like Titan’s Skinn, we see a man attracted by the scent of a woman, instead of the other way around.

The thing is, brands and agencies can come up with brilliant ideas that don’t scare anyone away or fill them with loathing.

In 2016, Unilever, the FMCG giant that houses Ax Deodorant, rolled out a new global advertising strategy to end sexism in its marketing content.

Even so, his ads from 2018 to 2022, while better, still show women swooning over a freshly “focused” man.

Should perfume brand ads be sexual? Can they be creative, without being vulgar?

Most of the time, is all the science behind pheromones reason enough to let a marketer take the scent test?

PS: Women don’t make life-changing decisions based on scent tones. It would be great if marketers and advertisers talked about what consumers (in this case, women) really want – and it’s certainly not a misconception that we’re gullible enough to be seduced by a bottle of perfume readily available at a pharmacy.

After all these years of discussion and debate around ad awareness and the importance of snappy objectification, it’s safe to say that the fragrance category hasn’t learned much.

(The author is Senior Correspondent, Campaign India)

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