Brad Pitt made his debut as the first male face of Chanel’s iconic No.5 fragrance on Monday, in an ad campaign that had fans and experts split on the actor’s latest role. Pitt, 48, is seen with long hair and dressed casually, looking wistfully into the camera in an enigmatic black-and-white video directed by Atonement filmmaker Joe Wright. “It’s not a journey. 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,” he says in the ad.
The video is part of a $10 million advertising campaign for which Pitt was paid $7 million, according to Women’s Wear Daily. Time magazine’s Erik Hayden called the ad “nonsensical,” saying Pitt’s “vaguely existential monologue ... sounds like it could plausibly have been discarded narration from the trailer for Tree of Life.” Us Weekly’s Zach Johnson called the video “sensual,” while Vanity Fair’s Amy Fine Collins said the choice to cast Pitt showed the French fashion house “subtly circling back to its gender-twisting origins.”
Chanel No.5 was the first perfume launched by legendary French designer Coco Chanel in 1921. In a statement from the brand, Pitt called the fragrance “revolutionary” and “the most iconic women’s fragrance.” It has been represented by actors Audrey Tatou, Nicole Kidman and Catherine Deneuve in the past. It has also been linked with screen icon Marilyn Monroe after she said it was all she wore to bed.
Love it or hate it On Twitter and YouTube, some fans noted the somewhat ironic coincidence of the campaign’s release tying in with the 13th anniversary of Fight Club, in which Pitt played a consumerism-hating salesman. Within the first 24 hours, the video generated more than 3,000 ‘likes’ and 850 ‘dislikes’ on YouTube. Harper’s Bazaar editor-at-large Derek Blasberg tweeted: “I’ve watched Brad Pitt’s commercial, oh, about 17 times today. I still don’t know how I feel about it.” YouTube user BabyHippo26, said, “So pretentious!!! ... I’ve been a long-time consumer of Chanel No.5. This commercial has turned me off so much, I won’t be buying No.5 again!”
Other fans, however, were mesmerised by the actor. User Medusafern posted on YouTube: “it’s his VOICE... it’s like one sweet drop of liquid angel I shall savor on my weary lips.” Twitter user Liz Lyons said, “I love love love Brad Pitt for Chanel no.5.”