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Justin Bieber’s perfume smells like teen capitalism


Sarah Cheverton
WVoN co-editor

The Bieber – teen pop’s young dream and contemporary culture’s latest nightmare – has released a perfume. Yes, hold the press, stop all the clocks – finally the world has meaning.

Causing an even greater sensation than the smell of Bieber’s success is his marketing campaign for the new scent – the name of which, like Bieber himself, slightly disturbs me – Someday.

Also running with the tagline, Never Let Go, the message to his adoring young fans (by which I mean too young to have yet reached the stage of brain development known as the ‘critical judgement’ phase) is, perhaps, that if you adore Justin-A-Bieber for long enough, someday he might be yours.

Just to clear that one up, he won’t.

And given that the thought of this barely-formed embryo  being anyone’s at all causes me profound discomfort of the does-this-make-me-an-accessory-to-criminal-activity-kind, that may be just as well.

But, then again, I’m not the best person to talk about perfume ads, to be honest.

Because I hate them.

I mean, I hate all adverts – noxious banners for mindless capitalist consumption that they are – but I reserve a special place in my hate for perfume adverts.

Perfume adverts are purposely  designed to be so meaningless they can convince an audience that they are somehow profound, and that if you were only to smell like this, you too could understand the meaning of life as revealed by Wussy Van Odour or whoever’s name is on the bottle.

And don’t get me started on celebrity perfumes, which I believe – and possibly I’m not the tip of an iceberg here, in terms of popular beliefs – were put on the planet by Satan himself so that he could more easily sniff out his ardent followers.

So, on many levels, the Bieber advert is just wrong to me.

Not, as the Guardian’s Hadley Freeman is saying, because he’s a kid – he’s not, he’s at least half android and twenty percent demon baby – and not because he’s encouraging consumerism amongst teenagers – so did the Beatles – but for a more fundamental and simple reason.

Because it’s artistically shit and in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t even matter.

In fact, I’ll bet you Bieber’s soul (I’m just kidding, I wouldn’t bet on someone’s soul, and we all know Bieber’s is long gone) that I’m only covering this advert because the rest of the media is writing about it and because we have a clear evidence base to suggest that readers are interested in ‘this sort of thing’.

Or possibly, just to make my editor laugh.

But even so, on the scale of perfume adverts this one just isn’t that good.

What is all the floating in the stars about? Why isn’t the girl more psyched to have Just-been Biebered?

The fact that it also stars Ernest Hemingway’s grand-daughter makes me think that as well as being one of the major influences on 20th century literature, Hemingway may well have also been clairvoyant.

But, of course, don’t take my word for it. Judge for yourself. You can check out the whole nauseating 32 seconds at YouTube.

But don’t say I didn’t warn you.

  1. Claire says:

    That’s really not a very good perfume advert and that woman looks too old for him.

    I like advertising because a lot of our century’s artistic talent has gone into it. When society changes, advertising changes.

  2. Sarah, how perceptive and funny!

    I totally dislike perfume ads too, esp the ones we see leading up to Xmas. Check out Lee Mack’s take on perfume ads 🙂

  3. Sarah Cheverton says:

    Thanks Cecilia, thanks Claire.

    Love Lee Mack’s take on advertising – thanks!

    Claire, got to disagree with you there. It’s a personal view I guess, but to me the words advertising and artistic have nothing in common.

    I’m with comedian Bill Hicks on this one – advertisers are ‘Satan’s little helpers and the ruiners of all things good’.

  4. Very funny, Miss Cheverton. Except, of course, ever since Walt Disney drew his little mouse this type of tween and teen capitalism has been growing and growing. It’s an exceptionally lucrative business to target kids before they have built up enough critical thinking skills to realise things such as perfumes by Bieber are a vacuous load of crap. But, thankfully, most of them WILL grow up to realise this (the only issue here is, they will have already made Bieber and his family very rich).

    Another spin on the “Someday” and “Never Let Go” phrases. Perhaps he’s trying to sell the self-esteem raising aspect of his image via his perfume, e.g. someday you can be as amazing as me, never let go of your dreams. Although I do understand that this is extremely tenuous and that seeling spinning this “American Dream” thing through perfume is the lowest of the low.

    But, as for the advert. You may hate it (I thought it was pretty cool…arrgh sorry!), but I’m sorry to tell you that it is absolutely on-the-money in terms of its audience age and their thinking patterns. And that, incidentally, means that Bieber’s marketing machine will be glad you were turned off by it as it isn’t aimed at you. They’d probably prefer you to go buy Beyonce’s perfume instead. 😉

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