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Chanel allows publications to debut latest Coco Mademoiselle campaign

Coco Chanel

Chanel's Coco Mademoiselle

French fashion house Chanel is reviving interest in its Coco Mademoiselle fragrance with a social video that plays with the brand’s feminine and sophisticated codes.

Chanel’s Coco Mademoiselle campaign starring ongoing fragrance ambassador Keira Knightley in a James Bond-esque role was not debuted by the brand. Interestingly, fashion publications such as British Vogue and Elle and news outlets such as The Telegraph and The Huffington Post featured the social film on their Web sites days before Chanel included it on its own digital spaces.

“When you share a film or video to news outlets first, you run the risk of negative reviews getting out front,” said John Casey, senior vice president of Havas Public Relations, New York.

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“However, in this instance, with the stellar reputation of Chanel's past videos, and the fact that you have a world-class director and actress leading the cast and crew, Chanel should expect favorable coverage from reviewers and the news media which will only build anticipation when it's launched on the brand's social channels,” he said.

Mr. Casey is not affiliated with Chanel, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

Chanel did not respond by press deadline.

Undercover Chanel
Although consumers had the opportunity to view Chanel’s latest installment of Coco Mademoiselle videos starring Ms. Knightley, the maison waited to premiere the film on its own social accounts, including its Web site. Instead, Chanel kept quiet, only releasing one campaign image and a question for consumers to ponder, “Where is she now?” along with the prompt to stay tuned because the new chapter was premiering March 21.

By not keeping the film under wraps, Chanel may have compromised the surprise factor for consumers accustomed to watching the maison’s digital space for content.

Chanel’s third chapter in the Coco Mademoiselle campaign film series was directed by filmmaker Joe Wright, whom Ms. Knightley also worked with for the film “Atonement” and 2011’s fragrance campaign. The brand introduced the film with the copy, “The portrait of a woman with a unique and carefree style” to summarize the ideal wearer.


Chanel's teaser post on Facebook

The video begins with the view of a pixelated eyeball that shimmers similar to a mirrored disco ball before the iris becomes a hallway lined with monitors screening Ms. Knightley’s face. In the distance, the viewer sees a party scene.

Next, the camera shows actor Danila Kozlovsky walking out of the hallway as he is greeted by the press and photographers. As the man stops to talk to the press, Ms. Knightley is seen in a white dress looking down at Mr. Kozlovsky.

When Mr. Kozlovsky walks away from the press, he is clearly looking for Ms. Knightley but has not yet spotted her. At this instance, Ms. Knightley is shown leaning back behind a pane of textured glass to hide from sight.

While behind the glass the viewer watches her shadow apply Coco Mademoiselle to her neck using her finger tips. Next, Mr. Kozlovsky spots Ms. Knightley as she walks down a staircase and groups of people dance to the Zombie’s “She’s Not There.”


Opening scene of Chanel's Coco Mademoiselle film, still 

When their gaze meets, Ms. Knightley holds up a small bottle of Coco Mademoiselle before dropping it behind her shoulder. Mr. Kozlovsky quickly reacts to catch the bottle. When he does Ms. Knightley is no longer on the staircase, but down below on the main level among the revelers.

As the Zombie’s song suggests, Ms. Knightley disappears in a flurry of gold sparkles. The following frame shows Ms. Knightley dressed in a boxer’s outfit and throws a punch that symbolically lands on Mr. Kozlovsky’s face. As his head jolts upward the viewer sees that the staircase comes together to form Chanel’s interlocking “C” logo.

The following scene in the minute-long video shows a speed boat driving down Paris’ Seine River at sunset. As the boat approaches the next bridge, the camera zooms in to show Mr. Kozlovsky walking down across the bridge while talking on his cell phone.

When the boat flies underneath the bridge, Mr. Kozlovsky leans over the side to see that the driver is Ms. Knightley. She then quickly turns the boat’s direction back toward the bridge and the camera zooms in on her face.

The video concludes with a bottle of Coco Mademoiselle set against a backdrop of the interlocking “C” staircase from the opening sequence of the film.

A fragrance’s personna
Ms. Knightley also starred in two prior Coco Mademoiselle campaigns. The first, in 2007, introduced Ms. Knightley’s continued working partnership with Chanel.

The second film in 2011 was backed by an email push to promote Chanel’s Coco Mademoiselle fragrance with a short film to drive online sales. Joe Wright directed this film as well and showed Ms. Knightley racing through the streets of Paris on a motorcycle, arriving at a sultry photo shoot where she seduces the director in the film (see story).

Ms. Knightley’s work with Chanel has allowed her to play many different roles that explore the brand’s heritage and codes.

Chanel’s bold move to create an 18-minute brand film for its 100th anniversary signaled that the French label is not only an innovator in fashion, but also looked to break the rules with its digital marketing.

The film called “Once Upon a Time” with actress Keira Knightley, the longtime ambassador for Chanel’s Coco Mademoiselle fragrance, started in 1913 when Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel opened a namesake hat boutique in on the Rue Gontaut-Biron in Deauville, France. The label’s creative director Karl Lagerfeld produced and directed the film to show how the brand’s founder revolutionized fashion by creating a new style concept for modern women (see story).

Ms. Knightley's reoccurring roles aligns with Chanel's codes.

"Keira Knightley is a great representation of the brand; she's talented, attractive, and elegant, and her involvement, as it has in the past, will clearly be a great benefit to the brand's campaign," Mr. Casey said.

"The video is a great representation of Chanel's lifestyle codes," he said. "It is bold, stylized, sexy and sophisticated and it's bound to be another hit for Chanel."

Final Take
Jen King, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York

Jen King is editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York. Reach her at jen@napean.com.

 
Related content: Advertising, Chanel, Coco Mademoiselle, Havas, John Casey, Vogue, Elle, The Telegraph, Huffington Post, mobile marketing, mobile

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