Chanel Debuts Brad Pitt Perfume Campaign

The actor is the first male to star in ads for the No. 5 fragrance

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Chanel, the epitome of feminine, graceful beauty, unveiled its first male-led fragrance ads this morning with a little help from Brad Pitt.

Ok, a lot of help. Chanel posted Pitt’s first video and print advertisements as the face of its trademark No. 5 fragrance on its website on Monday.

The spots are reminiscent of previous No. 5 ads with Catherine Deneuve and Ali MacGraw, which gave equal focus to the actresses and the perfume. The simple contrast between his pensive black-and-white image and the bold, colored No. 5 bottle in the “Inevitable” ad portrays the fragrance as an object of desire from the male gaze. His lines in the video emphasize the theme of longing.

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“It’s not a journey,” he states stoically. “Every journey ends, but we go on. The world turns, and we turn with it. Plans disappear, dreams take over. But wherever I go, there you are. My luck, my fate, my fortune. Chanel No. 5. Inevitable.”

Anna Karenina filmmaker Joe Wright directed the video, which was shot in London in May. Pitt’s chiseled looks as a marketing ploy are a new approach for the venerable label, which has previously used Coco Chanel, Marilyn Monroe, Catherine Deneuve, Lauren Hutton, Nicole Kidman and Audrey Tautou as spokesmodels for No. 5. Pitt, 48, is the first male to represent the perfume—and he was reportedly paid $7 million to do the honors. Chanel announced the campaign in May and posted three cryptic teaser videos on its Youtube page earlier this month in anticipation of the campaign’s debut.

Chanel’s selection of Pitt to represent a classically feminine, elegant perfume is both calculated and fitting for the brand. No one is more acutely aware of Chanel No. 5’s influence on the perfume world, marketing and women’s self-expression, than the label itself. Coco Chanel’s enduring 91-year-old fragrance shook up the stodgy popular scents of the age, adopted a simple name and iconic bottle, and the rest is soft, floral-scented history. As it boldly stepped into the future this month, it also took a fresh look into its past.

The French fashion house also injected rich, multimedia context into Pitt’s history-making campaign with a brand-new microsite, launched on Oct. 4, which features a 4:19 long video about No.5, an interactive timeline of Chanel’s life, and a slideshow chronicle of advertisements for her most famous fragrance.

Coco Chanel, the visionary rule-breaker, would surely approve.