Chanel Taps Kathryn Bigelow for Fragrance Campaign

The brand has inked the Academy Award-winning director to shoot the campaign for Allure Homme Sport Eau Extreme, Chanel’s newest men’s scent.

Chanel’s Oscar streak continues: The brand has inked Academy Award-winning director Kathryn Bigelow to shoot its latest men’s fragrance campaign.

This story first appeared in the February 24, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The move follows Chanel’s 2010 TV and print campaign for another men’s scent, Bleu de Chanel, which was directed by Martin Scorsese and starred French actor Gaspard Ulliel.

Bigelow, who won a 2010 Oscar for “The Hurt Locker,” has created a film promoting Allure Homme Sport Eau Extrême, Chanel’s newest men’s scent. The campaign is due to begin running in April, although Chanel will preview one version of the campaign on chanel.com on March 1.

“Kathryn Bigelow has an amazing vision and ability to direct action-filled moments,” said Christine Dagousset, executive vice president of fragrance and beauté of Chanel. “In addition to ‘The Hurt Locker,’ she also directed the surf film ‘Point Break.’ She was the best person to direct this type of campaign, especially because of her affinity for the sport of surfing. Because Allure Homme Sport Eau Extrême is the extreme version of the classic Allure Homme, the new concentration was meant to be more edgy, avant-garde and take more risks. This campaign does, as well.”

Professional surfer Danny Fuller, known for his expertise in big-wave surfing, appears in the campaign, which is meant to “express an extreme attitude through moments of adrenaline,” said Dagousset. Fuller is seen in a variety of hair-raising surfing moments in the TV campaign. Four different versions were shot, rather than cutting the same film four different ways, said Dagousset. “We wouldn’t have had this same campaign by simply cutting one long commercial. We wanted to express several different moments and that involved capturing many different camera angles and moments,” she said. “There is not one format that fits all when creating an ad campaign. Each time we talk about a fragrance in a creative way, there is a thought of [the] most relevant way to tell the story, such as the 60-second ad we did for Chanel No.5 with Nicole Kidman.”

Two print versions were done, one of Fuller on a wave and one of him close up. In the U.S., the Bigelow print campaign will begin appearing in May magazines such as Surfer, Outside and Sports Illustrated, while the TV campaign is expected to break the first week in May, said Dagousset. The global launch will be on the same schedule.

Dagousset noted that although Allure Homme has had three flankers including the latest, they tend to create a halo effect in sales rather than cannibalize them. “It’s actually also a great opportunity to put a new light on Allure Homme, in addition to Allure Homme Extrême,” she said, adding that the brand will continue to invest behind existing pillars, as it has also done with Chanel No.5 and Coco Mademoiselle. “We don’t want to cannibalize Bleu, so we are very carefully positioning Allure Homme and Bleu in different ways,” she said. “It’s not about launching and leaving. It’s about adding to the collection and boosting the business.”

In-house perfumer Jacques Polge created Allure Homme Sport Eau Extrême, which includes mint, clary sage, black pepper from Madagascar, tonka bean and sandalwood. Two sizes will be available, 1.7 oz. for $62 and 3.4 oz. for $84.