By  on August 13, 2004

NEW YORK — It’s the battle of the Oscar winners in the beauty world come fall.

Parfums Christian Dior has confirmed that it has signed Academy Award-winning actress Charlize Theron as the face of J’adore, one of its most successful women’s fragrances. The Theron deal marks the first time Dior has used an A-list celebrity in its fragrance advertising.

The news confirms a report that first ran in WWD on April 9.

Dior’s signing of Theron sets up an image battle with Chanel, which will launch its campaign for Chanel No. 5 using Nicole Kidman early this fall.

“Working with both John and Nick was by far one of the most amazing experiences of my life,” said Theron on Thursday, speaking of Dior designer John Galliano, who chose Theron for the role and who served as the artistic director of the TV and print campaigns, and Nick Knight, who shot the print ads. “Everything was so effortless because of the collaboration between the two. I feel extremely lucky to have been a part of something created by a genius like John Galliano and someone as truly talented as Nick Knight.”

Pamela Baxter, president and chief executive officer of the Perfumes and Cosmetics Group of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton in the U.S., and other Dior executives declined to discuss the length of Theron’s contract or what she is being paid, although industry sources believe the actress signed a three-year contract worth between $3 million and $5 million. Theron, who this year won an Oscar for her role in “Monster,” will star in both print and TV advertising globally touting the scent, which was introduced in 1999.

TV ads will break in December, said Baxter. Print, which is still being finalized, will break in either November or December fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines. Kidman’s print ads for Chanel No. 5 are expected to break, at least in the U.S., slightly before Theron’s for Dior. Chanel is said to be running its first ads in October fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines. It is likely that both the Dior and the Chanel TV commercials will go head-to-head during the holiday selling season.

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