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Ad/Campaign: Gucci

Agency: In house

Creatives: Tom Ford and Mario Testino

Tom Ford doesn’t do subtle. As well as being the first name in high end luxury (literally with his own self titled TOM FORD brand) Ford understands how to make the most shocking, controversial and what some have called vulgar Ad campaigns in an industry that specializes in all of the above. He pushes the boundaries of sexuality and taste to create the kind of buzz that many brands wouldn’t have the confidence to associate themselves with. As the the man who turned the fortunes of the faltering Gucci house around through his innovation and charisma in the early 90’s, Ford is now known the world over as a luxury lifestyle pioneer.

That is why when Tom (by this time the CD of Gucci) decided to shave a ‘G’ in the pubic hair of model Louise Pederson and have it photographed by world famous fashion photographer Mario Testino in early 2003, no one argued with him and his vision of what the direction and Perception of the brand should be.

The aftermath was as expected. The Advertising Standards Authority was bombarded with complaints, John Beyer director of mediawatchuk wanted the Ad band on the grounds that it was ‘harmful to society’.

You can’t buy this kind of publicity.

All this outcry did in the wake of the campaign was further the intrigue of Tom Ford’s edgy, stylish and sexually charged Gucci. Woman wanted to be associated with Ford’s Gucci woman. She was an edgy, devil may care, sexually active rockstar who dressed in the most stylish of clothes. It was this bold and provocative market that Gucci were looking for and by hitting the ‘G’ spot through Testino’s racy imagery, Ford delivered exactly that.

He’s used the same same shock tactics ever since only this time homing his focus in on a male market. This is illustrated in his TOM FORD men’s fragrance campaigns.

Take a look at the print Ads below.

Before I even know what the fragrance smells like I am more intrigued (and there fore more inclined to try and ultimately buy) by the provocative Ad showing the fragrance bottle held between a woman’s naked thighs/breasts than I am by most other fragrance Ads with (insert flavour of the month actor/musician/model here) holding the bottle and looking into the middle distance.

Ford creates a mystique, an intrigue that makes the consumer want to know more. These images are highly sexual and so the consumer wants to be recognized thusly through association with the product. “This is how I want people to regard my character”: High end, expensive, classy, sophisticated and sexy.

This simple arrangement of flesh and product personality resulting in the buzz of controversy and voila… Sex sells again.

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