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The essence of femininity: The subversive potential of the music video aesthetic in perfume advertisement

Payne, Emma 2020. The essence of femininity: The subversive potential of the music video aesthetic in perfume advertisement. Sonic Scope: New Approaches to Audiovisual Culture 10.21428/66f840a4.0cbdf606

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In order to overcome the intangibility of aroma, perfume adverts have typically relied on fantasy narratives, utilising the sensuality of sound and music to evoke intimacy and emotion. Associations between scent, sex and romance have led to objectification and stereotyping of women, particularly celebrities – treating them as the products on sale. However, I will argue that some adverts have begun to challenge these representations by repurposing the artistic freedom, creative technology and audiovisual relations characteristic of music video. The aesthetics of music video have enabled a new model for perfume advertising in a way which has yet to be explored. To do so, I will discuss audiovisual tropes in perfume commercials from Chanel, Revlon and Yves Saint Laurent and in music videos from artists such as Lady Gaga and Sia. Drawing upon these examples, I will reveal the ways in which Kenzo’s 2016 “Kenzo World” advert creates a rebellious new style of perfume advertisement. In turn, I will address the potential for further cross-fertilisation across media, whereby Kenzo’s innovations feed back into the music video genre and create new implications for women on screen.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Music
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 9 November 2022
Last Modified: 02 May 2023 11:50

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