Happy hump day! Laugh along with these vintage fragrance ads

January may feel like a month of Mondays, especially with this awful weather, but we’ve made it to another hump day, fragrant friends! We’re celebrating with a look back at some of the most hilarious scent ads of yore.

Now that we’re in the 20s, we are feeling distinctly nostalgic for all things vintage – but it’s easy to forget how drastically advertising styles change over the years. What once was ultra cool can turn to cringe in the blink of an eye. YouTube is the gift that keeps on giving, as far as viewing vintage adverts is concerned, and there’s a whole host of fragrance ads that range from the unintentionally hilarious to the downright dodgy. We’ve rounded up some more of our favourites to keep you smiling for the rest of the week…

There’s a distinctly Monty Python-esque feeling to this advert from 1969. At any moment, one expects a character to ask, ‘Alright, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh-water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?’ To which, according to this advert, we can now add: Bacchus Cologne. He’s not the messiah, he’s a very smelly boy!

Lasers, leotards, smoke machines… could this be the dawn of the 1980s by any chance? This couldn’t be more thrillingly of its it time (1981 to be precise)  if it tried, and we even have SCIENCE (along with some nifty robotic dance moves, which I’m pretty sure we’ll all be breaking out down the club this weekend) to back up their claims of ‘pheremones’ in every bottle of Jovan Andron, that are ‘guaranteed to attract.’ Attract what, we’re not quite sure. Stifled laughter?

We can imagine the storyboard the advertising team created before filming this advert for Hawk Cologne in 1981, showing a ‘man who reaches higher’ – embodying all the freedom and graceful power of a bird of prey as he effortlessly conquers the rock he’s climbing. Unfortunately, the images somehow don’t match the voiceover, because what we see is a rather gormless chap with a bowl haircut looking for all the world like he’d need nanny’s instructions to climb the stairs to bed. Ah well, it probably looked good on paper.

This woman is not on the verge of a complete breakdown, she’s just ‘a little bit Kiku.’ That’s all. It’s 1969 and she’s fine, okay? She’s just changing her mood every two seconds and wearing a salad bowl on her head. She’s NEVER BEEN BETTER, thank you. In fact, aren’t all women, ‘a little bit Kiku?’ Well perhaps, but in public we try to hide it. Now take that off your head, Sandra, and come with us. We’ve all been rather concerned about you…

It’s not merely the yellowish hue that makes this 1976 advert look like a cheese dream: we think the people behind this campaign had been at the last of the Camenbert. In an unfathomably long sequence, we see Charles Bronson gawping weirdly at a piano player, then burst through the doors of his own appartment and begin stripping as though he’s joined the Chippendales, all while smoking a pipe. The name of the fragrance? Mandom. Of course it is. Pass the Brie.

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Retro men’s fragrance ads to make you smile

In our semi-regular series looking back fondly to fragrance ads of yore, we’re concentrating today on a batch that are even more (mostly unintentially) hilarious than previous selections. With a fascinating look at what men should smell like, and how they should behave, we feel these serve as public information films, and should possibly be studied in history lessons while a teacher writes ‘What WERE they Thinking?!’ on a white board…

 

There’s something rather ironic about the voiceover saying ‘…for men who aren’t kids anymore’ just as a woman is shown spoon-feeding her man-child partner in a restaurant, don’t you think? Immediately after asserting how grown up and un-kid-like the man who wears this fragrance definitely is, they ask ‘Would Canoe suit you? Ask a woman…’ while she’s now shown cutting his hair. We don’t get to see her rock him to sleep or read him a bedtime story or even talc his bottom with matching powder, but the inference is surely there. The people who made this Dana Canoe advert in the 60s HAD to be trolling the chaps, right? We’re down for it.

 

‘He believes in the same things his father believes in’ – wearing all white outfits while gazing wistfully from windows in all white rooms, apparently. Then, because he’s ‘strong and dependable’ he pops down to the beach to help two fishermen haul a boat out to sea (NB: they were doing perfectly well before he stepped in, but we’re sure they praised his name to the sky). Actually, we’re big fans of the Old Spice fragrance, here at The Perfume Society. It’s a proper masculine classic, and if you haven’t smelled it for a while, quit your sniggering and have a sniff. But do feel free to snigger at the old adverts, all the same.

 

#moustachegoals for miles as our hero is seen splashing on Blue Statos Cologne one minute, and hurling himself into a hang-glider the next. We hope he waxed that ‘tache or he could give himself whiplash. And who’d have thought it? It turns out hang-gliding is the perfect sport to take up if you want to make eye-contact with female drivers – not something we’d have thought Health & Safety regs would approve of, but still. She can get a whiff of his Cologne even as he whisks through the air above her car (like a fragrant falcon), and they immediately decide to live together in a glorified wooden shack. We love happy endings.

 

The Hai Karate adverts were always firmly tongue-in-cheek – ready to take the proverbial out of themselves, and presented in the manner of camp Carry On style films of the era. There’s something a bit weird about watching them now, though – a genuine sense of unsettling danger of women uleashed from their senses by getting a mere sniff of the Cologne. Here, a female nurse adds injury to injury by ruthlessly persuing a patient across a hospital ward. Apparently the brand put ‘instruction for self defence with every bottle’ because it smelled so good, men who wore it were in constant danger. Or something.

 

Shopping for men while picking up their vegetables for the week, two women perform an improptu musical outside a greengrocer’s, discussing what, exactly, constitutes ‘something about an Aqua Velva man.’ I’m not sure we ever quite get to the bottom of it, only that they must be ‘manly’ and ‘last all day’. With packaging that at first glance might be mistaken for men’s hair dye – or a devastatingly attractive fake Moustache In a Box – we can only guess how ‘fresh’ and/or ‘provocative’ the duo of fragrances actually smelled. Or perhaps it’s of secondary importance to the freshness of the veg?

By Suzy Nightingale

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

Hump-day blues? Watch these 80s scent ads and smile

The 1980s were an absolute heyday for hyperbolic fragrance adverts, with many of the most memorable TV commercials having been made during the era. Featuring an array of film stars cutting their dramatic teeth while wafting the distinct aroma of ham, against a background of blaring pop tunes and symphonic orchestral mood music, they truly are a treasure trove to explore.

Here you we invite you to ignore the weather, make yourself a cup of tea, sit back and smile at these gems…

Did you know that Sharon Stone once starred in a Revlon Charlie advert? The roots of the fragrance are firmly in the first fragrant girl-power up-rising of the 1970s, but were still going strong in the 80s. Big hair? Tick. Dubious fashion? Puffed sleeves for days! When contemporary fashion designers reference the 80s for inspo, we don’t think they mean this look, but stil –  it’s a great fragrance and this makes us somewhat nostalgic.

We happen to catch British actress Jane Seymour as she nonchalantly picks flowers in her garden one afternoon, while wearing a prom gown (as one does). Sitting at her dressing table, she gives us her Ted Talk on why romance isn’t dead after all, in a breathlessly husky voice suggesting hayfever. A gloriously whimsical ad for Le Jardin de Max Factor.

In direct contrast to fluffy femininity exuding from the above, may we present an advert for Faberge Turbo Cologne so resolutely ‘Masc’ that the mere act of watching it may make you grow a moustache. Everything you could possibly want is present and correct: impossibly gravelly ‘movie trailer’ type male voiceover, futuristic graphics, a random image of a pouting woman. Simply amazing, catch us as we swoon!

We devoured the weekly dose of shoulder-pad and rhinestone-infused drama, but perhaps some of us missed out on the opportunity to spritz ourselves with the scent of Dynasty tie-in scents? No matter, let’s eavesdrop on Krystle and Carrington as they just happen to have bespokes fragrances made for each other, to keep the love alive…

There has surely never been such an array of pastel in one room as this Prince Matchabelli Cachet perfume ad, as the coiffured singer twirls amidst a whirl of ice-cream colours, leg-warmers and madly enthused dancers, declaring ‘I’m ready now!’ Not ready to light a cigarette any time soon with all that hairspray, we hope. P.S: Vintage bottles of this are apparently going for £195+ on eBay, so perhaps have a rifle around the legwarmer drawer to see if you have some?

By Suzy Nightingale

Love to Smell… love us, too! Have you watched the fragrant friends?

Imagine having incredibly knowledgable, engagingly funny and totally un-snobby friends who like nothing more than inviting you ’round their house (or meeting up at a local coffee-shop) and gassing about the latest “OMG, you have to smell this” fragrant find… Well, some of us are lucky enough to have those friends (or hey, even be those friends!) but not everyone is so fortunate. We know this from meeting so many of our subscribers at events, or having them run up to us and say, ‘Oh thank god, people who understand me!’
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Two of our favourite ‘fume-heads  – fragrance expert Nick Gilbert [formerly Ambassador for Penhaligon’s and now freelance consultant] and Pia Long [perfumer, fragrance marketer and now freelance writer with monthly column in Perfume & Flavorist magazine] teased us a little while ago with the trailer for their new show – all about sharinf the things they have most enjoyed sniffing, lately. Now the YouTube channel Love to Smell has officially launched, viewers have access to those kind of friendly people talking about perfume in an informative but completely fun way – and were thrilled to find out they explored our Introductory VIP Discovery Box in their first full episode. It turns out, they love what we do, too…

PS: [HINT] Perhaps if you sniff around a little, you’ll find a brand new, just-launched to VIPs box to discover…? [END HINT]
In their Show Notes section of the accompanying blog, Nick and Pia talk a little more about what drew them to The Perfume Society, before discussing some other ‘try-me’ sizes of frgrances:
‘So we really love what The Perfume Society is up to – as you may have noticed, we love to smell… and love perfumes and talking about them. And The Perfume Society is more or less a club for people to get excited about smells. One of the best things about getting more into fragrances is the social aspect – talking to others, training your nose to be better at smelling; comparing notes and attending fragrant events. You will learn so much about fragrances, perfume history and the ingredients, too…’
With four episodes already out there – the next ones concentrating on subjects as diverse as Foam Burst shower gels and new perfume house Amouroud – we urge you to grab a cuppa and make time for Love to Smell – a fun, fragrant show that doesn’t take itself too seriously and makes you want to share the scents you love, too!
Written by Suzy Nightingale
 
 

Love to Smell? Nick & Pia launch new YouTube perfume channel, watch their teaser episode here…

Two of our favourite perfume people – fragrance expert Nick Gilbert [formerly Ambassador for Penhaligon’s and now freelance consultant] and Pia Long [perfumer, fragrance marketer and now freelance writer with monthly column in Perfume & Flavorist magazine] – are launching a brand new YouTube channel dedicated to all things fragrant, and have released a teaser-trailer to give a us a sniff of what’s in store.

Love_To_Smelllogo_blue

Appropriately enough, the channel is named Love to Smell, and the weekly show will encompass a plethora of perfume-related news, reviews, tips and tricks of the trade. Laid-back and totally approachable, their chatty style is immediately recognisable to anyone who’s met them before – and we love the fact they will only focusing on things they (again, so appropriately) love to smell. Have a peek of the show, below…

You can read a bit more about Love to Smell and why these two scent-obsessed friends have set it up: A knowledgable but friendly way to find out about new things to try – or remind you of favourites that have long been neglected – we loved this sample-sized trailer of what’s to come, and can’t wait to see the first full episode when it launches!

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Game of Thrones: we perfume the main players – 9 scents, but no spoilers (we promise!)

Game of Thrones Season 6 has finally begun, to the nail-biting, breath-holding anticipation of the series’ legions of fans around the world. Having once been asked for our advice on scents to suit zombies by a certain TV programme’s producers (yes, really.

We’re on standby for pretty much any fragrant conundrum here at The Perfume Society HQ!) it got us pondering how we’d perfume some of the main players from another of our must-watch shows.

GOT_PerfumeInterestingly, Game of Thrones had its very own scent for a time, with the website Think Geek selling a fragrance called ‘Fire and Blood’ – though this no longer seems to be available. Whether you’re a die-hard enthusiast of the books or TV series, or simply have an interest in boldly characterful fragrances, we think these are worth exploring, instead…

Arya Stark

arya
Unique and youthful, fresh, willful and difficult to define – this pocket-friendly Cologne is a tempestuous mixture of cold steel and sweetness, electricity and petrichor; that tingle in your senses of dark clouds obscuring a bright sky before the heavens open and the downpour begins.

Library of Fragrance Thunderstorm £15 for 30ml cologne spray
Buy it at Boots

Bran Stark

Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 11.53.23A mysterious harmony of dark forests and sunlight fighting its way through misty undergrowth, it’s perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour’s abstract portrait of a hazelnut tree. Freshly green buds unfurl to amber-hued leaves, creamy woods slowly drip rich, honeyed droplets to an earthily sweet forest floor as tendrils of smoke hearald a slow-burning dry-down that’s alive with magic.

L’Artisan Parfumeur Méchant Loup £87 for 100ml eau de toilette
Buy it at House of Fraser

Sansa Stark

Sansa
Wild flower meadows kissed with a cold sea breeze, a tangled bouquet of delicate flowers and juicy berries surrounded by thorny stems. Capturing the dramatic landscape where land meets ocean, within the refined flacon perfectly tied with a grossgrain ribbon lurks a scent of innocence blooming into something altogether more unpredictable in nature.

Penhaligon’s Blasted Bloom £90 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy it at Penhaligon’s

Jon Snow

Jon
Frostily attractive with a minty herbaceousness that gives way to dryly brooding undertones, it’s been splashed on since 1988 and although it may be passed over by those seeking more spirited adventure in their fragrance journey, it should never be overlooked. Simplicity is sometimes written off as dull, but this still has an icy masculinity that longs for a secret snuggle.

Davidoff Cool Water £41 for 75ml eau de toilette
Buy it at The Perfume Shop

Cersei Lannister

Cersei
Staggeringly provocative with a vastness that can fill a room, this is full-on waxy tuberose seduction that could double as a weapon if you so wished. Razor-sharp white flowers whistle through the air like silver bullets, tempered only by a buxom bouquet of velvety roses and crown of orange blossom resting on a glamorously musky base.

Robert Piguet Fracas £95 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy it at Selfridges

Jamie Lannister

Jamie
Classically handsome and knows it, winsomely charming with a bracingly rugged edge, 50 years ago this was the first male fragrance by Dior and broke new ground. Described as ‘absolutely wild and resolutely sensual’, this is bergamot balanced with a mossy, floral heart for the ‘new man’ or ‘metrosexual’ – a forward-thinking guy who favours facials but still hankers after a spot of sword-fighting – before the term was coined.

Dior Eau Sauvage £49.50 for 50ml eau de toilette
Buy it at Debenhams

Tyrion Lannister

Tyrion
Soaked in boozy fruits, tenaciously strong yet crowd-pleasingly smooth at heart, bobbing in the perfumed punch bowl we find juicy pineapple, orange, plump raisins and dried plums soaking up the alcohol; while cocoa, tonka and coffee lead to vine blossom, peppered honey and spiced vanilla. Definitely one for those with a taste for the finer things in life.

Frapin 1270 £98 for 100ml eau de parfum
Buy it at Bloom

Melisandre

Melisandre
‘Darker than night, stronger than desire, what is the line between passion and the urge to dominate?’ A question posed by Blood Concept – a line inspired by blood types and their inherent proclivities – and answered thus: Milky pools of liquid cedarwood charged with black pepper, laden with glowering guaiac wood and resinous patchouli sinuously seeping into the flickering heat of amberwood and incense.

Blood Concept 0 Cruel Incense £108 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy it at Avery Perfume Gallery

Daenerys Targaryen

Daenerys
Compellingly unusual with notes of cade oil, spikenard (praised for its curative, medicinal properties) spicily perfumed cardamom pods, clearwood and darkly glistening berries; the labdanum-rich smoky base is one to clamour for. One moment it’s all refined sophistication with bone dry woods and the next, passionate, carnal, and mysterious.

Imaginary Authors A City On Fire £70 for 60ml eau de parfum
Buy it at Roullier White

Written by Suzy Nightingale