Love is a strange feeling. It is intangible yet it has the power to completely dominate our thoughts, both awake and in our dreams.
Perfume possesses this intangible quality as well. Its presence is immediate yet invisible. While perfume caresses our sense of smell, love is far more complex since it involves a relationship to another who can be present or absent. Both cry out for a language to articulate its expression.
One of the milestones in child development is the ability of a child to make sense of the world by using language to formulate concepts, or in essence, ideas that embody the reality of their everyday experience. But love induces us to cross this intellectual line and return us to the world of pure feeling; love discards the mind's persistent attempts to distance us from the emotional impact of our intimate gestures and need for empathy, revealing a quiet journey toward the heart's soul.
This commercial is designed to leave the viewer with a glimpse into an unresolved feeling of love. The narrative, edited from footage from "Snow Falling on Cedars," constructs an imaginary story of a secret, romantic relationship between the woman and her driver. The lingering point-of-view shot at the end, of the driver staring out the window, reinforced by her prolonged gaze back at him, infers a forbidden love that is recalled earlier in a flashback of the couple kissing.
The music is a piano reduction of Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On," which of course references the greatest box office love story, Titanic, staring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet -- a love story with a tragic ending. The word BALLAD appears at the end, with the tagline, "Love Sings Forever."
The literal definition of the word ballad is a "romantic love song," so the use of this word is deliberate; it is designed to represent the emotional concept of love, that over time, will be associated with a wide variety of narratives that articulate a story of love. What makes this word particularly unique is the fact that its literal definition equals its aural definition. I can think of no other brand name that offers such rich possibilities of being able to associate romantic music, from any genre, anywhere in the world, to define its brand identity.
Paul Poiret, a fashion designer from the 1920's, once described the relationship between fragrance and fashion as a "profitable association." I intend to prove that the relationship between music and fragrance offers an even more powerful "profitable association." Nike and VW may use music in their ads, but the brand name has no direct connection to the music associated with it. Ballad comes from the world of music and is defined within that world.
As such, it provides a unique opportunity to tap into the music world as a "communication system" that builds on an artist-fan relationship but refuses to sell out those feelings. A ballad is a ballad. The story told by the ballad can be articulated by lyrics and images, and its final association with the fragrance states the original concept, "Love Sings Forever."