Creative Consistency has the Scent of Success for Dior


Miss Dior Eau de Parfum


Fragrance is a category which ought to show up more in Ad Of The Week. It’s an indulgent product with household name brands, which attracts famous names to lavish ads full of hot people enjoying themselves. And yet the average fragrance ad on our Test Your Ad database scores a feeble 2.2-Stars. There’s something about the way perfume brands market themselves which makes viewers wrinkle their collective noses.

Glance at a typical fragrance ad and you might realise why. If you’ve read Orlando Wood’s Look out, the answer will be no mystery. Fragrance commercials are full of elements Wood identifies as appealing to the left side of the brain – the narrow-focus, goal- and task-oriented part of humans’ decision-making system. Highly rhythmic, unfamiliar soundtracks; abstract body parts; hard stares to camera; and a general rejection of story in favour of mood – all these appeal to the left-brain and make it harder to build emotional response and brand.

Dior’s commercial, starring Natalie Portman, takes a different route. Looking at “Sea” you might almost believe it’s a travel commercial – Portman is laughing, smiling, lounging in the sun and playing on the beach with a man while a Janis Joplin song plays in the background. It’s as artistically shot as any fragrance ad, with the usual framing shots of the perfume bottle and brand – but the vibe is entirely different.

Travel ads tend to score a lot more highly than fragrance ads. They put the emphasis on the scenery and people having fun or romantic times in it, which means there’s a good deal more importance given to a sense of place and to markers of human “between-ness” like glances and non-verbal communication. Those elements are things which, we know from Look out, appeal to the right hemisphere of the brain, which pays attention to relationships, connections, patterns and unexpected elements. And Orlando Wood’s work shows that right-brain elements in ads are more effective for brand-building and longer-term business effects.

So Dior’s ad is a right-brained commercial in a generally left-brained category – that’s a big reason why it outperforms most fragrance ads. At 4.1-Stars it’s the most successful fragrance ad since 2022, and the third-most effective on our entire database.

But that’s not the whole story. Dior have also been remarkably consistent in their advertising, even if it’s never before been so effective. Natalie Portman has been associated with Dior as a brand ambassador since 2010, and she’s appeared in their ads since 2017. The Joplin soundtrack also makes regular appearances in the brand’s commercials. While the ad isn’t telling a story per se, it’s achieving the same kind of consistency that Fluent Devices provide by using Portman as the face of the brand so prominently and regularly. It’s no wonder this ad achieves a sky-high Brand Fluency rating of 99% for Dior.

Creative excellence and consistency – it’s a blend worthy of a great fragrance house.

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