Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Semiotic Spritz Part 3: Dior's J'Adore: Of Horses and Carriages

Launched in 1999, J’adore’s crowning moment arrived in 2011 when it replaced No.5 as the top-selling female fragrance in France. Since then, its star may have dimmed a bit, being partially eclipsed by Lancôme’s La Vie est Belle (2012), but J’adore remains Dior’s highest selling perfume and was 2014’s second best selling perfume overall. As such, it is unsurprising that the LVMH owned brand should continue to invest heavily in its promotion.
The above advert’s most salient symbol is gold: there’s gold writing, a gold flacon and a gold model set against a gold background. It’s right there in the name, too: J’adore, ‘(d’)or’ being French for gold(en). A cursory reading of the text then, suggests it aims to communicate a message of conspicuous luxury. In our blinged-out, rhinestone-encrusted age however, Dior knows it needs to go beyond gaudy appeals to aspirationalism to retain its market share:
By illuminating the letter ‘o’, a matrimonial symbol viz. a gold ring is brought into direct contact with the concept of love as expressed by the perfume’s name (‘I love’, in English).
Viewed another way, the ‘o’ is suggestive of a halo which, combined with reference to marriage (historically a sacred institution) creates a religious subtext with a devotional imperative. These messages are reinforced through a strong continuity of image that has seen ‘screen goddess’ Charlize Theron hang on as the face of J’adore for over a decade.
In terms of its marketing strategy then, it would appear that rather than attempting to woo new consumers away from caremellic gourmands, Dior is instead looking to encourage loyalty amongst J’adore’s existing customer base by evoking traditional themes of fidelity.

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