Spike Jonze's new perfume ad is the only perfume ad worth watching

Most perfume ads are awkward affairs, loaded with celebrities, ludicrous levels of glitz, and laughable dialogue that runs the embarrassing gamut from portentous ("I'm not going to be the person I'm expected to be any more") to childish ("I'm a dancer! I love to dance!"). The ad for Kenzo World's newest perfume starts in much the same way, with a slow zoom on a woman in a glamorous dress, sat at a table in an ostentatious ballroom. But ignore the pretentious opening — this is something a little different.


You might expect such weirdness from Spike Jonze. The director of the dreamlike Her and Being John Malkovich stepped behind the camera for the four-minute ad, shooting The Leftovers star Margaret Qualley as she waddles, krumps, and body pops her way around the fancy-ass venue. Qualley's dance moves have to be seen to be properly described, the actress licking statues, slapping mirrors, and trying her best to control her unruly limbs in the service of selling perfume.

Kenzo World suggests you let the scent "take control" — perhaps that's what Qualley's doing in the ad? Or maybe it's just an excuse for her to try out the moves she wasn't brave enough to bust out in the club? Another Kenzo slogan says its fragrance "dares everything," a classic piece of grammatically questionable perfume PR that means nothing, but plays on vague emotional cues to sound important and aspirational. Most of Kenzo World's competitors also try their hardest to be cryptic and nonsensical, lest customers realize that smelly water is an essentially pointless purchase, but here, Jonze has elevated that pointlessness to an art form.

Comments

Crazy moves don’t go with the dumb pop track. Pretty bad ad, especially for a perfume ad. Just bring back Qi and shoot her standing still for 4 minutes. Infinitely better.

He’s just recreated the Weapon of Choice video he made with Christopher Walken prancing about. Although I would accept any movement in the direction of making the artistic vacuum of the perfume ad a bit more interesting – god I hate them all so much.

Was just about to post the same thing. Even the color palette is similar to the Weapon of Choice music video.

I KNOW RIGHT!! I immediately thought the same thing…. But I would NEVER tell Christopher Walken he is "prancing" about, cause ya know ya might be I dunno turn up missing or what not.

She’s good!!!

She was, but it didn’t feel like she was really cutting loose a la Jim Carrey.

girl’s good, but not visceral.

(i mean, marlon webb level crazy visceral.)

Has someone been watching a lot of Sia videos?

Reminds me of the video for Massive Attack, Young Fathers – Voodoo In My Blood. Even the music!!!

Just tell us what it fucking smells like!

Check your smellophone messages, I just sent you a sample.

that stairs / mirrors scene!!! I wonder how they shot it

I wondered about that too. Probably just painted / photoshopped over the camera man frame by frame in post production. But there were a lot of reflections there so somebody certainly had their hands full if that’s how they did it.

It’s like a cross between Weapon of Choice and Bret’s Angry Dance:

https://youtu.be/K44HxkcnEMU

You do realize that the Bret dance is a straight take off of the Kevin Bacon Flashdance warehouse scene right?

Is it still called an homage when the work you reference was one that you created in the first place?

Ownage?

Maybe if you are no longer that person – like if George Lucas paid homage to his younger self.

I think someone asked him to "Just do what you did with Weapon of Choice", and made an offer he couldn’t resist. At least they probably had fun on the set.

I’m fine with Jonze selling out a bit on the sides, if it helps him get creative freedom for his excellent movies!

I enjoyed it. Thought it was a little like Weapon of Choice as well but am ok with that. Can’t steal your own work. Actually lol’d when she started shooting lasers.

Wes’s/Coppola’s "Candy" trilogy is one of my favourite ads, so I am kinda confused about the "only" in the title, Rich. Being opinonated about perfume ads is one thing, saying there aren’t good and better ones that the Jonze’s is another thing.

Uh… that seems uncannily familiar…

Fatboy Slim: Weapons of Choice

Christopher Walken did it better…

Ahhh.. did not realise Jonze did that video as well.. now it makes sense.

I need opinions: Is she using telekinesis to control the spotlight (add that to Dance Fighting, Laser Hands, and Kung Fu jump on her list of super powers) or was an electrician chilling in the balcony and decided to spot the weird lady when she showed up on their stage?

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