The Quick 10: Eau de Chanel
Clever publicists have been using dates as clever marketing gimmicks for ages, including one of the best marketers of all time: Coco Chanel. It was this day in 1922 (actually, sources state everything from 1921 to 1925) that she officially launched Chanel No. 5, arguably the most iconic perfume in history.
1. If you asked Coco, she probably would have told you that launching No. 5 on 05-05 was not a gimmick "“ it was simply her good luck charm. She claimed she launched all important products on the fifth day of the fifth month because it brought her luck, which is also the main reason she chose the fifth variation of the perfume samples she was presented with. Supposedly a fortune teller once told her that five was her lucky number.
2. The company estimates that a bottle of Chanel No. 5 is sold somewhere in the world every 55 seconds (there are those fives again"¦)
3. Marilyn Monroe claimed Chanel No. 5 was only thing she wore to bed and also said her bathwater was always liberally sprinkled with the stuff.
4. Have you ever had trouble placing the exact scent of Chanel No. 5? Kind of floral, right, but also rather pointedly artificial? If that's your impression of the scent, well, you've really hit it right on the head. Coco didn't want a perfume that smelled like a particular flower; she wanted a perfume that simply smelled like itself. "I want to give women an artificial perfume," she once said, "Yes, I really do mean artificial, like a dress, something that has been made. I don't want any rose or lily of the valley, I want a perfume that is a composition."
5. Ridley Scott directed three Chanel No. 5 "Share the Fantasy" commercials that ran from 1979 to at least the mid-90s, especially during the holiday season. Here's one of them. A far cry from Gladiator, no?
6. The bottle itself is so iconic that one of them has been in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art since 1959. Prior to Chanel No. 5, perfume bottles were extremely fussy and ornate, so the sleek Chanel bottle stood apart before consumers ever even took a whiff.
7. Rumor has it that Coco had her home at 31 Rue Cambon, Paris, spritzed down with the fragrance every day. She used the same trick in the dressing rooms of her boutiques.
8. Chanel was the first fragrance designer to put her own name on a scent. These days, you rarely come across a perfume that isn't named after the designer (or a celebrity who had very little to do with creating the smell at all).
9. As if Chanel No. 5 wasn't already cemented in pop culture, fashion and fragrance history, Andy Warhol took it to another level when he included the famous bottle in his series of silkscreen prints.
10. According to the Huffington Post, 1 in 10 women (out of a survey that included 3,000 participants) said they met their Mr. Right after strategically spraying a bit of Chanel No. 5 on themselves. Maybe Coco was right "“ she once said a woman should put perfume anywhere she wanted to be kissed.
Any Chanel No. 5 wearers in the house? Or do you find it too chemical-smelling, which is a common assessment of the scent? I have no sense of smell, so I can't really give you an opinion. But I'd love to hear yours!