Feeling scentimental? Remembering retro fragrance ads

The importance of nostalgia in fragrance shouldn’t be ignored – so often our memories are linked with the scents we wore way-back-when, and we’ve surely all been stopped in our tracks by catching a whiff of something a loved one was loyal to.

Here at The Perfume Society, we also like to wallow in the warmth of perfume adverts past – they can be, by turns, charmingly evocative or utterly hilarious. We’ve gathered a selection for you to watch to cheer up your day, and we’ll let you decide best which category they fall under. How many of these do you recognise or remember wearing…?

There’s a rather wild claim within this 1981 ad, that ‘drop for drop, Jōvan Musk has brought more men and women together than any other fragrance in history…’ which, um, we’re absolutely sure they could have backed up with stats… Anyway, there’s no messing about, here, and we’re left with no doubts about the power of scent to drive women to rub their hair over men’s faces.

We associate fragrance advertising with impossible glamour and aspirational lifestyles, but sometimes the men’s fragrances used to downplay this in favour of the all-too-obtainable – like this Blue Stratos TV ad from 1988. During what looks to be the crummiest date ever, a couple drive to the world’s most boring pier, get soaked in the rain and, presumably because things can’t get much worse, decide to hurl themselves into the sea, fully clothed. And who can blame them?

This woman will quite happily throw a bunch of roses over a railing and spray perfume straight in your eyes, because she’s… having a complete breakdown? No, silly. Because she’s IMPULSIVE! and UNPREDICTABLE! Well, perhaps, but we still think she comes across as one of those friends, who you can never safely invite to a wedding, because she’ll be causing A Scene – ‘it should have been meeeeeee!’ – and swigging straight from a wine bottle within minutes of arriving.

Is it just us, or do you think there’s something mildly skeevy about the way the man in this Stetson Cologne ad rubs the crown of his hat? It suggests a familiarity with headgear that had not previously occured, but perhaps he’d splashed some of his Cologne on it and was powerless to resist. A peculiar half-spoken, half-sung narration by the woman, too. Peculiar all ’round.

Spying someone gorgeous at a party, trying to subtly flirt across a crowded room, is a situation fraught with danger. But it’s all going so well for this woman – she’s chic, fun and poised with dignity – until she applies Tigress, quick-changes into a catsuit, spends several minutes fighting her way through the potted plants and breathes on her ‘prey’ in a quite unpleasant and off-putting manner. And this is why we should all have that friend who says, ‘No, Susan. You’ve had too many cocktails.’

On what looks to be the set of a 1960s Hammer Horror film, and wearing a nightdress that only adds to the impression, we are given life advice by a really quite terrifying woman who declares in a breathy, faintly sinister way, that her men must wear ‘English Leather, or nothing at all.’ We’d be straight on the phone to the police, to be honest, advising them to check under her patio for those who refused either option…

By Suzy Nightingale

Explore the stunning new scent & watch the gorgeous new film

Gucci have been blowing us away with their fabulously opulent catwalk collections, and now continue that trend with the launch of their sumptuous new scent, Gucci Bloom
The first fragrance developed under the complete control of Gucci’s Creative Director, Alessandro Michele, this is a lusciously modern white floral we couldn’t wait to get our noses on.
Alessandro Michele says: ‘I wanted a rich white floral fragrance, a courageous scent that transports you to a vast garden filled with many flowers and plants, a bouquet of abundance. The garden is as beautiful as women are; colourful, wild, diverse, where there is everything. Gucci Bloom smells of this garden in order to travel to a place that is not there.’
So what does it smell like? Well it’s gloriously soaring right from the first spritz, with the mysterious scent of the (exclusive to Gucci, as far as we know) note of Rangoon Creeper – a white flower that only opens at dusk, gradually transforming to pink and finally a deep, blood red. A sparkling bouquet of tuberose and juicy jasmine garland the fragrance throughout, before soft musk slowly rolls in to billow beguilingly…
Now, feast your eyes on the eye-poppingly gorgeous mini-film – and if the sun’s not shining where you are right now, we’re sure you’ll feel a virtual glow.

Gucci Bloom from £52 for 30ml eau de parfum
Buy it at Harrods
Written by Suzy Nightingale