At the recent London launch of the new TV advert for Gaultier's Classique and Le Male, Isabelle Fulconis* claimed that one of the main challenges faced by the team responsible for the campaign was finding a way to remain transgressive. "How can we fly in the face of convention," she said, "when so many of those conventions have fallen down?"
It's easy to see what she means. The various Gaultier films from previous years managed to push audience's buttons - always to the strains of Casta Diva, of course - precisely because there were still plenty of buttons left to push. Now, there seems to be less to fight against. Or is the Gaultier stable just becoming tamer? The latest commercial (directed by Briton Johnny Green) is amusing - I chuckle each time the tightening of the corset cuts to the mini-earthquake - but it's also safe, unless we're meant to read Jarrod Scott's moustache as a transgressive fashion statement.
I can't believe that there's no territory left to explore in the realms of inter-gender relationships. Perhaps this new advert should have played with the notion of age. After all, it's been quite a few years since these two scents hit the market, which must mean that many of its original adopters are no longer spring chickens. Should the ad have depicted... dare I say the word... older models? An interesting thought, but I can't see it becoming reality any time soon. The powers that be continue to believe that youth sells and age repels, and artistic bravery must always give way to the demands of the accountants.
I've posted the ad below so that you can make up your own mind. For comparison, I've included a few of the previous Gaultier gems; I suspect you'll agree that many of them thwart audience expectations in far more inventive, memorable ways than this latest instalment.
* Parfums Jean-Paul Gaultier Marketing Director at Beaute Prestige International, the firm which holds the license for Gaultier fragrances
And finally the original kiss from 1997, directed by Jean Baptise Mondino: