The love-hate world of perfume ads

As the festive season wafts in, on a cloud of scent, we find out what makes fragrance ads so compelling – with help from spoof Twitter sensation @perfumeads

“Everyone loves them. That’s why they exist and have never changed, and never will,” says the person, or possible people, behind Twitter account @perfumeads. For the last three years, the page has been putting out a steady stream of ridiculous, yet totally believable, ad concepts – Wesley Snipes giving birth to himself as horses gallop across the prairie, or Harry Styles sat in a bath of flutes, enjoying an apricot. All of these ideas are for sale, with a price tag of £5k.

The anonymous creators have perfectly captured the luxury absurdity that is the classic perfume ad. “Nothing thrills the bones and hearts of the public more than seeing Adam Driver swim so thoughtfully that he turns into a centaur,” says @perfumeads in an email to CR. “Nothing ignites people’s inner passions more than seeing the man from the Lacoste advert throw a white tennis ball at an urban crocodile.”

The @perfumeads account is, obviously, perfectly pitched satire. Its ideas are outrageous enough to be amusing, yet close enough to the real thing to emphasise the strange situation perfume advertising has found itself in. CR did try to get to the bottom of who’s behind the spoof account, and why they picked perfume ads in particular, to which the creators replied, in a parody of adland nonsense: “A honey bee lives for only nine days. During that time it creates enough honey to keep a human alive for three months. Who is more creative in that scenario. The bee? Or the human? The answer is: the wasp.”