linked in facebook twitter rss

  • Interbrand
  • Brandchannel

your chance!
your chance!
Chanel No. 5 - perfect perfume?
Also of interest...

Chanel 5

  Chanel No. 5
perfect perfume?
by Ana Paula Palombo Terzi
September 7, 2009

Symbols of innocence, virginity and virtue, the early 20th century perfumes were inspired and composed around single flower themes. Before the First World War, women felt no need to compete with men; softness, tenderness and femininity were their signature, and “flowery” fragrances were natural extensions of their personality.

The war changed everything. Women were forced to wear the trousers while their men were away. The experience challenged and toughened them. After the war, women embodied a more forceful character in every way they expressed themselves, including their fragrances. But then couturier Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel broke the rules by revolutionizing and democratizing fashion in its various forms—from clothing to accessories, including perfume.

The Chanel No. 5 Juice
“I want to give women…a scent that smells like a woman, not like a flower,” Chanel said.

In 1921, Coco commissioned Russian perfumer Ernest Beaux to create what would become the ultimate Chanel masterpiece and greatest classic perfume of all time—an abstract floral overdosed and overpowered with sparkling yet heavy synthetic chemicals called aldehydes.

Chanel No. 5 was ahead of its time as a composition. It was impactful, long lasting, unique and libertarian in its essence. The juice’s signature hasn’t changed since its creation, yet its attributes have evolved to become aspirational in a more classic and feminine way as opposed to being the edgy, abstract rule breaker it was in its early years.

For decades, Chanel No. 5 has remained a bestseller around the globe. Interestingly, the juice doesn’t test well blind, but when women experience it within the context of the Chanel brand, a certain je ne sais quoi happens just like magic, and women just embrace it.

The Chanel No. 5 Experience
Its flacon is a simple square bottle with a rectangular top. It has been altered only minimally since first designed by Coco Chanel. Black and white colors and straight lines convey simplicity and purity. The black is not just black; it is the blackest possibly attainable. The famous double-C logo created in the early 1920s embodies all elements Chanel and remains strategically unchanged. The glass feels heavy, conveying quality. The simple style of the overall package holds classic stylistic codes that have become intrinsic to the brand’s DNA over the years.

The Chanel No. 5 experience is highly regarded, and the brand pays a great deal of attention to detail, juice quality and components durability. The label, colors and coatings must be durable so the consumer can keep the flacon impeccably intact for years, even when it is empty. Branding the experience is quite important for Chanel. Repeated consumer interactions with the product are meant to result in an accumulation of pleasant multi-sensorial moments that ultimately reaffirm Chanel’s quality and render awareness, recognition and loyalty to the brand.

Consistency, Consistency, Consistency
Perhaps consistency is the main reason Chanel No. 5 remains successful, aside from being true to its heritage. From Marilyn Monroe accidentally endorsing Chanel No. 5 in the 1950s to Audrey Tautou and all her “Frenchness” as the new face of the fragrance, the brand has been consistently linking popular cinematic figures to appeal to a younger generation with every passing decade.

Catherine Deneuve, Ali MacGraw, Carole Bouquet and Nicole Kidman—to mention a few—all embodied qualities the brand wanted to portray to characterize the quintessential No. 5 woman. Aggressive advertising campaigns over the years have been critical for the brand to stay current and keep its image young and fresh.

Many attributes of Coco’s unconventional personality are incorporated into her brand, as is evidenced in an upcoming biopic film, Coco avant Chanel, featuring Audrey Tautou as Mlle Chanel.

In 2008 brand Chanel decided—for the first time, after decades of careful brand strategy—to take a bold step by launching Chanel No. 5 Eau Première—a lighter, more modern version of the original No. 5 with a quieter sillage. Chanel in-house perfumer Jacques Polge stated: “Eau Première is for all those women who came to me and said, ‘No. 5 is fantastic but it’s not for me.’ Eau Première is lighter, more transparent, but, in essence, it is still No. 5.”

According to the NPD Group, a research firm, Chanel revenues increased by 14.5 percent after Eau Première was introduced.

Chanel No. 5 stays young by embracing a classy, ladylike attitude that could go just about anywhere, day or night. Chanel’s quality is uncompromised, distinctive and has an engaging history—from its avant-garde and socially progressive beginnings, to the traditional, luxurious and classic status that it has perpetuated throughout the decades.


Ana Paula Palombo Terzi holds a master’s degree in cosmetics and fragrance marketing and management from FIT and has spent over ten years working in the beauty business.

 commenting closed Add Social Bookmark bookmark  print
 suggest topic  recommend ( 36 )  email

Chanel No. 5 - perfect perfume?
 Enjoyed this article. Especially the reminder of the edgy, progressive origins of the "juice" and it's creator.A great brand doesn't lose itself, a reminder for some of us as well.p.s. I read this while listening to my 14 year old son's ipod. The Black Eyed Peas were a satisfying soundtrack to your article. Timeless? 
Patrice Blackburn, Creative, Blackburn Design - September 7, 2009
 I've tried several times to escape from the Chanel No. 5 brand simply because I thought something new, contemporary might make me feel rejuvenated. But I always come back to the elegance of No.5, even after giving Eau Premier a one flacon run.P.S.--What is one supposed to do with all the beautiful empty bottles? 
Susan Sandor, Creative Director, Strenk Sandor Advertising - September 7, 2009
 Chanel No. 5 is a brand that has withstood the test of time and transformed into qualities that embody a specific woman. While contemporary celebrity fragrances attempt to capture the insecure teenage girl, Chanel No.5 has always focused on the epitome of beauty and classic. Not sure N. Kidman was the right woman on their last campaign. But with such a strong recognition, mistakes like this can be forgotten. 
Gustavo Leone, Student @ UW CBPM - September 7, 2009
 Your article underscores an important point: keeping the core presentation of a brand stable, as Chanel has with this fragrance and its packaging, and instead changing the ancillary advertising, models, etc. with the times, reaps far greater benefits than changing your logo every 5-10 years. 
David Bivins, Creative Director, Fry, Inc. - September 8, 2009
 This article is right. Latéral thinking, overdosed formulations made this juice a real masterpiece. Overdosed might then be meaning perfectly balanced, or in other words , how to get rid of the life cycles...

Everlasting brand and everlasting creativuty

Pr.Ivan Coste Maniere, Program Director MSc Luxury - September 20, 2009
  brandchannel profile archive   2011  |  2010  | 2009  |  2008  |  2007  |  2006  |  2005  |  2004  |  2003  |  2002  |  2001
Dec 23, 2009 Prilosec - drug war -- Barry Silverstein
  Can Prilosec OTC cure the competition?
Dec 17, 2009 Family Dollar - bringing change -- Mark J. Miller
  Why Family Dollars is worth every penny.
Dec 10, 2009 Harrah's - a good bet -- Barry Silverstein
  Why the Harrah’s brand has got game.
Dec 2, 2009 Sutter Home Winery - uncorked -- Mark J. Miller
  Why Sutter Home has wine in its veins.
Nov 24, 2009 Kraft Peanut Butter (Canada) - sticky situation? -- Renée Alexander
  Kraft peanut butter has Canada on a cracker.
Nov 23, 2009 For Dummies - smart! -- Barry Silverstein
  The genius behind the For Dummies brand.
Nov 11, 2009 Dr Pepper - sick? -- Barry Silverstein
  Dr Pepper has the cure.
Nov 4, 2009 Dawn - cleaning up -- Barry Silverstein
  Dawn shines on expanding territory.
Oct 28, 2009 Alexander Keith's - pouring it on -- Reneé Alexander
  Alexander Keith’s savors its rebrand.
Oct 21, 2009 Tecnisa Construction Company - door-to-door -- Beth Furtado
  Tecnisa is building bonds and its brand in Brazil.
Oct 14, 2009 Rough Luxe - roughed up? -- Barry Silverstein
  Why there is No Vacancy at Rough Luxe?
Oct 2, 2009 Mondetta - flying high? -- Renée Alexander
  Mondetta’s flags fly once again.
Sep 30, 2009 Chico's - sized right? -- Barry Silverstein
  Chico’s tries on original styles and sizes.
Sep 23, 2009 TaylorMade - swinging? -- Mark J. Miller
  Why TaylorMade is part of an elite club.
Sep 14, 2009 Volute Wine - canned wine? -- Barry Silverstein
  Volute is bottling up the future of wine.
Aug 31, 2009 Food From the ’Hood - growing potential -- Barry Silverstein
  Food From the ’Hood is prime branding real estate.
Aug 24, 2009 Viking Range Corporation - home on the range -- Mark Miller
  Viking Range seeks to pillage outdated kitchens.
Aug 17, 2009 Better Homes and Gardens - home sweet home? -- Barry Silverstein
  Better Homes and Gardens in the hood.
Aug 10, 2009 The Grid - line by line -- Mandy de Waal
  Find yourself on the Grid.
Aug 3, 2009 Nickelodeon - child's play? -- Barry Silverstein
  Why Nickelodeon rules kids.
Jul 27, 2009 Staples - buttons up -- Renée Alexander
  Staples’ brand, that was easy.
Jul 20, 2009 Pirate's Booty - snack fight! -- Barry Silverstein
  Pirate’s Booty is a branding treasure.
Jul 13, 2009 Hamam - steaming along? -- Elif Altunoklu
  Hamam gives the world a Turkish bath.
Jul 6, 2009 BIC - the write approach -- Barry Silverstein
  Why this brand is uBICuitous.
Jun 29, 2009 United Africa Company of Nigeria - refreshing? -- Eric Okeke
  UACN: food for thought.
Jun 22, 2009 Kohler - sinking in -- Barry Silverstein
  Kohler taps into international designs.
Jun 15, 2009 Hallmark - calling card -- Barry Silverstein
  Hallmark is more than a house of cards.
Jun 8, 2009 Moog - noted -- Barry Silverstein
  The electronic keys behind Moog’s brand.
Jun 1, 2009 Pentax - clicks with customers -- Jennifer Gidman
  Pentax focuses on brand advocates.
May 25, 2009 Cacau Show - sweet deal -- Beth Furtado
  Brazil has a taste for Cacau Show.
May 18, 2009 Swarovski - cutting edge? -- Barry Silverstein
  Swarovski still shines in modern times.
May 11, 2009 Mengniu Milk - skim? -- Banu Kannu
  Mengniu: Got milk scandal?
May 4, 2009 Polaroid - touched up -- Barry Silverstein
  Will Polaroid’s brand be fully developed?
Apr 27, 2009 Hand-Me-Down - howies' heirlooms -- Mya Frazier
  Is Hand-Me-Down passing on a new tradition?
Apr 20, 2009 A Prairie Home Companion - good company? -- Abram Sauer
  PHC’s unique field of branding.
Apr 13, 2009 Sellaband - cha-ching-aling -- Barry Silverstein
  Sellaband’s musical model pays off.
Apr 6, 2009 no name - who? -- Reneé Alexander
  Why no name is popular again.
Mar 30, 2009 Granado - keeping up appearances -- Ana Paula Palombo Terzi
  Why Granado has Brazil feeling well.
Mar 23, 2009 Goldschläger - flakey? -- Abram Sauer
  Why Goldschläger is young at heart.
Mar 16, 2009 Lufthansa Italia - winging it? -- Barry Silverstein
  Lufthansa Italia takes flight.
Mar 9, 2009 Natura - eco-beauty -- Jovilson Azevedo
  Natura flourishes in a branding environment.
Mar 2, 2009 Ten Thousand Villages - crafty -- Barry Silverstein
  Fair trade for all from villages to malls.
Feb 23, 2009 Orla Kiely - on target -- Vivian Manning-Schaffel
  Orla Kiely dresses the part for Target.
Feb 16, 2009 Star lager - gazes -- Eric Okeke
  Star lager sparkles with history.
Feb 9, 2009 Hush Puppies - bitchin’ -- Barry Silverstein
  Why Hush Puppies are littered with success.
Feb 2, 2009 we - climate change -- Barry Silverstein
  Why we is in it together.
Jan 26, 2009 Carol’s Daughter - blossoms -- A.K. Cabell
  Carol’s Daughter grows up.
Jan 19, 2009 Bio-Oil - skin deep -- Mandy de Waal
  The healing power of Bio-Oil.
Jan 12, 2009 Burt’s Bees - natural buzz -- Barry Silverstein
  When honey makes money.
Jan 5, 2009 Zena AG - cutting edge? -- Jennifer Gidman
  Zena peels away branding challenges.