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EXCLUSIVE: Jamie Dornan Discusses Scents

The actor fronts the new campaign for Boss The Scent with Birgit Kos.

PARIS — Expected to bolster the blockbuster Boss The Scent franchise even further is a new advertising campaign — fronted by actor Jamie Dornan and model Birgit Kos — set to go live on Sept. 1, in tandem with a men’s and women’s fragrance launch.

Boss Bottled and Boss The Scent are the two pillars in the Boss fragrance portfolio today. Boss Bottled, which is meant to represent the brand’s masculinity, ranks among the top five in men’s perfumery worldwide.

Boss The Scent, meanwhile, channels seduction. The For Him version is one of the 10 best-selling fragrances for males globally, and Boss The Scent For Her is in the top-20 women’s perfumes in Europe.

“We wanted to add a new chapter to this story of seduction,” explained Simona Cattaneo, chief marketing officer at Coty’s Luxury Division, the Hugo Boss fragrance licensee.

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Juice-wise, that meant creating new fragrances for Boss The Scent. There’s Private Accord For Him and For Her — in which some notes of the original scents were intensified, notably cocoa absolute in both iterations, plus ginger and maninka fruit in the men’s eau de toilette and mandarin and osmanthus in the women’s eau de parfum — for a more sensual effect.

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Perfumers Bruno Jovanovic, of International Flavors and Fragrances, and Louise Turner, of Givaudan, respectively, created the scents.

“For the campaign, what we wanted to do was to tell a story about seduction today,” said Cattaneo, adding that increasingly entails people making connections virtually. “But at the end of the day, at a certain moment, they need to meet in person.”

In the ad, Dornan and Kos are at an opera house, sitting next to each other, sometime in the near future. Their attraction is palpable, but still they don the augmented reality glasses everyone in the theater is wearing to experience the performance. Then Kos leaves and Dornan takes off his glasses to find her in the real world. They must disconnect to truly connect.

“We call it the experience of ‘augmented sensuality,’” said Cattaneo.

Drake Doremus directed and lensed the film ad. It comes in various lengths and will have widespread digital play starting Sept. 1, in Germany, the U.K., Russia, the U.S., Latin America and the Middle East. For one week, from Sept. 17, it will be shown on the large screen in London’s Piccadilly Circus. The next phase of the rollout is in the rest of the world, beginning in October.

Karim Sadli shot the print ad.

The new campaign and fragrances could catapult the Boss The Scent For Him franchise into the top five globally and allow the For Her version figure among Europe’s 15 best-selling women’s scents, according to industry sources.

Dornan discussed his new role for Boss The Scent and other projects with WWD in an exclusive interview.


WWD: How does it feel to be the face of Boss The Scent?

Jamie Dornan: Above everything else, it’s just a privilege to be associated with such an iconic brand. In my modeling days, I think I did five campaigns for [Hugo Boss] in various guises. They were always very good to me. I always respected everyone there and have a good relationship with them. So to be able to continue that relationship all these years later, it’s a very nice feeling.

WWD: How was it working on the advertising?

J.D.: They had a very strong visual idea of what they wanted it to look like, and they got Drake Doremus in to do the advert. I’m a huge fan of his. He’s a very impressive, very talented, very successful director in Hollywood. Their intentions were obviously for it to be something very seductive, beautiful and artistic, and hopefully I’ve helped in whatever way I can to achieve that.

WWD: This campaign is about becoming disconnected from the virtual world. How come you choose not to be on social media in your own life?

J.D.: I think there are elements of social media that can do good, and people can spread good vibes. But unfortunately, what it really highlights is that a lot of people don’t want to do that. It just feels like it’s a sort of hotbed for negativity, and I don’t really want to buy into that. It’s also very high levels of narcissism that — again — I have no interest in being subjected to. It’s not for me.

I feel like my life is much more enriched without it than with it. I have to say, I don’t miss it.

Boss The Scent advertising
Boss The Scent advertising. Courtesy Photo

WWD: Do you recall the first fragrance you ever wore?

J.D: I remember CK One being a big thing at school. Fragrance — it never fails to blow my mind how powerful a scent is, and how it can bring up emotions and memories of people that you didn’t even realize you had locked away. It means a lot to a lot of people.

WWD: Do you wear fragrance?

J.D.: Yeah, [but] not every day. We live out in the English countryside, where it’s not really about looking or smelling good. You sort of get up and go, really. It’s the life we’ve chosen, and we love it. I have two very small kids, and it’s the last thing in your mind in the morning — how you look and how you present yourself.

WWD: What about Boss The Scent?

J.D.: It does give you a bit of a lift — it does elevate you a bit, and it’s a nice feeling.

WWD: Are there certain scent notes you like?

J.D.: I don’t like anything too fresh, fruity or floral usually. I just find it a bit distracting, and it makes me a bit dizzy. I prefer the earthier, woodier, leather sort of stuff.

WWD: Outside of fragrance, are there any other projects you can discuss?

J.D.: I’ve got three movies coming out within five weeks of each other. I’ve got a film called “A Private War” with Rosamund Pike and Stanley Tucci that’s coming out in November. I’ve got a film I did with Peter Dinklage for HBO called “My Dinner With Hervé,” and I’ve got a “Robin Hood” film that’s an ensemble thing with Taron Egerton, Jamie Foxx, Eve Hewson and Ben Mendelsohn. And then I just finished last week filming a three-part drama for the BBC, called “Death and Nightingales,” which is an adaptation of a book by Eugene McCabe of the same name. It’s being directed by Allan Cubitt, who wrote “The Fall,” which is a BBC show that I did. So yeah, lots happening. It’s all been great.

WWD: What parts do you have?

J.D.: Very different roles. In Hervé, I played a journalist, who goes over to interview Hervé Villechaize in the Nineties and has a very insane night with him, and it changes both their lives forever. In “A Private War” I play again a journalist, but a photojournalist — a war photographer. The story is about Marie Colvin, who was The Sunday Times war correspondent for about 25 years. She died in Syria in 2012. Rosamund Pike plays her, and I play Paul Conroy, who is a real person, whom I’m now very close with. He was with us on the whole journey. And then “Robin Hood,” I play Will Scarlet…and then in the latest, in the BBC [production], I play a character called Liam Ward. It’s all set in late 19th-century Ireland.

What I love about my job is the variety of it. You get to explore all these different worlds and these different characters, and it’s never the same thing day in, day out.