If there is one type of advertisement that sells mood and emotions rather than the product itself, it’s definitely perfume ads.

Cinematic language, dramatic story, hidden passion – successful perfume ads promote much more than drops of scented liquid, they tap into our psychology and link their fragrance with our secret desire…

This week, we are presenting two best-selling perfumes for men from Jean-Paul Gaultier and Guerlain. Gaultier’s ad is stacked with all sorts of tempting creatures. Reflecting Gaultier’s iconic aesthetics, “Le Mâle” is virile yet sensual, a tough guy with a sensitive heart. In contrast, Guerlain’s ideal man is characterized by classic gentleman virtues – he is the perfect husband pursued by hundreds of brides-to-be.

Jean-Paul Gaultier Le Mâle, YouTube, uploaded by Jean-Paul Gaultier
Guerlain L’homme idéal, uploaded by Tendance Perfums, YouTube, for more information please visit Guerlain’s official website

Which spot will be more appealing to the audience? Let’s get to the battle now.

If you are not (yet) familiar with the concept and format of “Ad Battle”, click here for our beginner pack.

Of course, the takeaway version is also available:
  • Positive emotions are dominant in both ads.
  • In terms of Le Mâle, highlights of positive emotions coincide with the scenes of sirens seducing sailors. Elements of temptation and sexuality prove to be effective for boosting the positive emotional impact.
  • In L’homme idéal (an ad characterized by its humorous design), happiness starts with the perfect gentleman trying to run away from the brides, and keeps growing as the number of brides accumulates.
  • Viewers are 15% more focused in the first 5 seconds when watching L’homme idéal compared to Le Mâle. Why is it important to keep my audience highly engaged in the first 5 seconds?
  • We identified a major weakness in Le Mâle’s ending scene: viewers’ gaze is only shortly fixated on the protagonists, the lighthouse in the background attracted most of their attention (see visual illustration in Round Three).
  • Without any doubt, the winner is L’homme idéal from Guerlain!
Round One: Emotional Impact

Jean-Paul Gaultier Le Mâle: 26.53% of Feelers reacted with strong emotions, the dominant emotion is happiness (20.4%).

Guerlain L’homme idéal: 27.08% of Feelers demonstrated strong emotions, the dominant emotion is also happiness (20.8%).

Happiness elicitation sequences JPG Le Mâle
Happiness elicitation sequences Guerlain L’homme idéal

In both spots, female viewers exhibit a higher level of positive reactions compared to male viewers. Male viewers, though slightly less enthusiastic, still show a stable level of positive reactions.

In Le Mâle, highlights of happiness coincide with the scene of mermaids seducing sailors, for both male and female viewers. In L’homme idéal, strong positive reactions start with the perfect gentleman trying to run away from the brides. Viewers’ happiness grows as the number of brides accumulates.

We announce a tie for Round One!

Tips from FEELIN: You would think the humorous L’homme idéal ad would be the easy winner of Round One. Well, actually, people are quite positive about tempting sirens, too. No wonder that traditional perfume ads would often link their products with motives like sex, temptation, and glamour – it’s indeed an effective strategy to boost the emotional impact of advertising.

Food for thought: Though going heavy on sex and seduction is proven to be an effective way for perfume marketers to brand their products, today, more and more perfume brands choose to associate their products with a set of modern and authentic values such as confidence, freedom and generosity (like the two campaigns below) instead of overflooding their content with traditional elements of romance (like Guerlain) and sexuality (like JPG).  

Always motivated by professionalism and curiosity, we can’t help asking which marketing approach will prove more effective? We are excited to find out the results! If you feel the same, stay tuned, we’ll have our follow-up report ready in the coming weeks!!

Round Two: Attentional Power

For the second round, we will focus on the attention demonstrated by male viewers aged between 26-65, who are considered as the target group of luxury perfume.

Le Mâle achieved an attentional score of 59.14%, 61.33% for male aged 26-65.

L’homme idéal reached 63.41%, 69.27% for male aged 26-65.

Attention Overall Tendency Male 26-65 Comparison

L’homme idéal has a significantly better performance in the first 5 seconds compared to Le Mâle.

Tips from FEELIN: The more concentrated viewers are in the first 5 seconds, the more likely they will keep watching your ad. Click here for more insights into key strategies for keeping your audience engaged.

Without any doubt, the winner of Round Two is Guerlain L’homme idéal!

Round Three: Eye-Tracking Analysis

Tips from FEELIN: With eye-tracking analysis, we can easily locate the region of interest in the video. Making sure that the key elements (logo and tag line for example) are situated in the region of interest is crucial for the brand’s visual remembrance.

Eye-Tracking Analysis: Areas of Interest

In general, both contestants deliver a good performance. As illustrated above, key elements, including personage, logo and key information, are well situated in the areas of interest.

However, we still identified an imperfection in Le Mâle‘s ending scene: when the sailor finally kisses the siren, viewers only glanced at them for a very short period of time, then their gaze is attracted by the vintage lighthouse in the background.

Tips from FEELIN: Making sure powerful scenes are well noticed by your viewers is crucial to guarantee that your consumers will remember your ads/brands’ key message.

So the winner of Round Three is again Guerlain L’homme idéal!

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