Historical Analysis “J’Adore”

In 2011, Christian Dior released a new fragrance of the series “J’Adore” and used Charlize Theron as the main persona in the advertisement. The advertisement depicts model and actress, Charlize, making her way through a backstage set filled with models and older Hollywood icons as Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly in order to appear on the runway on time. The ad, being filmed in a luxurious setting such as the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, goes in stark contrast with the economic situation of Europe at that time. At that time, the financial crisis was at its peak in Europe so Dior was in a way advertising to people who can’t afford to spend that much.

Unlike the Great Depression era, there are no elements of sensationalism in the advertisement since it is targeted for a specific niche of people and does not correspond to what was being done in the 1930s “if you don’t buy this..you will not have a lovely life”. Also there is absolutely no information about the product, no focus on the price of it as advertisements would contain in the Great Depression period. The recreation of J’Adore resembles Charlize’s body as well as the choice of using shades of the color gold throughout the advertisement makes it seem even more imaginary.

Since the ad was released within the past 5 years, it contains characteristics of contemporary ads. A common tactic in many ads, is to use popular songs in order to make it more memorable. The use of the track “Heavy Cross” by The Gossip as the main music is something that makes this particular ad stand out. The use of attractive women throughout the ad encourage the purchase of the product and we could say that J’Adore appeals to women of different ages as a result of the ads’ use of both present day celebrities (Charlize Theron) and iconic Hollywood celebrities (Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly) who are digitized back to reality. This tactic of incorporating cultural references and celebrities, is one of the most effective advertising tactics used in contemporary advertisements.

While thinking more deeply and remembering any significant events that occurred in 2011, the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton came to mind.  The wedding ceremony cost an extreme amount of approximately $20 million and was as glamorous and luxurious as an event can get. Thus, it may have been that year that Christian Dior was inspired to have an advertisement that reminds people of the luxury, glamour and sophistication existing in the life of a some people.

Finally, the ad is an example of the transformational function of advertising since it does not tell us much about the product itself but more about the experience surrounding it.  What is known as “dematerialization” occurs since the material is less important in the ad, but the people and experience matter more.  The storyline is entertaining  and a lot of attention is paid to every single detail ranging from the clothing worn to the music in the background. The cultural intermediaries, those who mediate between people and consumers and attach cultural meaning to goods, are more interested in what the ad conveys than its use. It is evident because in just the very last seconds of the ad, the fragrance is finally introduced. Most of the ad focuses on the beautiful Charlize and the exquisite setting it is being filmed in.

-Natalia K.


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