Saturday, October 27, 2007

Diddy vs. Mariah: Battle for the sexiest fragrance spot

With celebrity fascination at an all-time high, it is no wonder that celebs capitalize on their fame in the form of fashion, cosmetics and perfume licensing deals. Celebrity fragrances, in particular, are on the rise with more than 30 scents launched last year, according to Marketing’s Jemima Bokaie.

This fall, sex was used to position two new celebrity fragrances: Sean “Diddy” Combs’ “Unforgivable Woman” and “M” by Mariah Carey. Although commercials for both feature a great deal of nudity, one has sparked debate.

Diddy’s three-minute “movie-let” was rejected by U.S. standards boards. The spot shows Combs and a supermodel at a New York hotel engaging in various sexual behavior. Combs is clothed, however, while the model proceeds to bare (almost) all. Combs defended his work by saying that although “some people may be uncomfortable with the sensuality and sexual content… it is important for them to make that decision personally,” and not have it made for them by executives. The commercial did air in the U.K. in its original form.

Mariah Carey’s commercial has thus far avoided controversy. The spot shows a nude Mariah immersed in the water as she sings and touches herself. She is the only person in the 30-second spot, and she appears to be promoting a sense of beauty and sensuality. Although there are some scandalously bare shots of the diva’s breasts, no one has reacted publicly to the degree of Diddy’s commercial.

Why has one approach created a stir while the other has remained under the radar? Diddy’s use of sex and nudity positions women and his fragrance with an edgy, somewhat dangerous feel that borders on obsession and objectification. On the other hand, Mariah’s use of nudity, although still risqué, positions her fragrance as a source of beauty. Commenting on the two promotion strategies, Mariah says that her approach “is about being unforgettable, not unforgivable. It’s not about a ménage trios or a one night stand, it’s for the woman who wants the man to fall in love with her immediately, stay in love, and treat her like royalty.”

Combs’ spot does appear to involve a one-time tryst, or at least one man’s infatuation with a women’s body.

--Posted by Michelle Weidner

1 comment:

Rosie Siman said...

I am a UGA student, but I interned at Translation Consultation & Brand Imaging, and we developed the release for P Diddy's fragrance, Unforgivable Woman.

We had a huge discussion about whether or not we would edit the spots for TV, but when it came down to it, Diddy didn't want to.

But honestly, I think it was better that we didn't edit the spots-- Look at the amount of publicity and chatter it created...

The ads did run on VH1, E!, MTV, and the huge MTV Jumbotron in Times Square.