Youtube commentator Calucifer13 remarks:
"This is so 'shiny', this advert. I mean, I love it. It sparkles like gold and diamonds. She does, too. She is shining like the sun!"which I think it is a pretty fair summary of the aesthetic quality Gucci were aiming for. Blake Lively surveys her kingdom, the city of Angels, from her Ivory (or golden?) Tower. She came, she saw, she conquered, in not one but two ball gowns, the golden one being I guess the equivalent of a normal person's onesie for our heroine. In her own words:
"This fragrance is especially special because it has these flirty, feminine, floral and bergamot smells.. but then it has this leather and wood that strengthen the masculinity."
Anchorman references aside, we can glean a little more about the message the ad attempts to convey from the director, Nicolas Refn:
"The whole campaign is about movie mythology, the romanticism of movie mythology. I mean, we're in Hollywood, this is where it all began."a sentiment which is awesomely reflected in the behind-the-scenes footage of the making of the advert, replete with a lonely fat man with exclusive voyeur access to Blake Lively's Great Glass Elevator.
Ignoring for a moment the background for this ad and focusing instead on the message it intends to convey we can see a number of techniques used to give the pitch a persuasive quality. The makers set the scene using landscaping techniques, such as association, whereby the idea/product (frangrance) is linked to another positive concept (Blake Lively) in order to transfer the meaning from the second to the first (Staats & Staats, 1958). Association appears to work particularly well when the idea/product is made similar to another concept on irrelevant attributes (Pratkanis, 2007) - in this case the common attribute is the colour gold. Another technique used to influence the audience is the establishment of source credibility by adopting the uniform of attractiveness and fame such as make-up, glamorous clothing and a movie star narrative (Cialdini, 2001).
Social modeling can be a powerful tactic in influencing behaviour, in this case the desired behaviour is buying Gucci's fragrance. Social modeling is when the likelihood of a given behaviour occuring is increased by the presence of a person demonstrating that behaviour. This effect has been found to be even more powerful when the person modeling the behaviour is high in prestige, status and attractiveness (Pratkanis & Aronson, 2001).
In a study where participants were asked to envisage the benefits of cable television in their lives, Gregory, Cialdini, and Carpenter (1982) showed that when asked to image the benefits of a product people were 2.5 times more likely to purchase a subscription. In this advert Blake Lively is wearing Premiere, the essence for women, and taking over Hollywood (how considerate - they envisage the consequences for us). It would sensible to assume that the same outcome would result for any woman who chose to wear this fragrance.
It is clear from the director's comments that this ad aims to associate wearing this fragrance with becoming a successful movie star, by using a credible source: a successful movie star. This ad was well received by critics, but given the plethora of persuasive techniques utilised this is little wonder. In the words of director Nicolas Refn (seriously this man is a soundbite machine):
"How do you make a baby happy? You say Gucci Gucci Gucci."
Paul O'Connor - Blog 2
Cialdini, R. B. (2001). Influence: Science and practice (Vol. 4). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.
Gregory, W. L., Cialdini, R. B., & Carpenter, K. M. (1982). Self-relevant scenarios as mediators of likelihood estimates and compliance: Does imagining make it so?. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 43(1), 89.
Pratkanis, A. R. (2007). Social influence analysis: An index of tactics. The science of social influence: Advances and future progress, 17-82.
Pratkanis, A. R., Pratkanis, A., & Aronson, E. (2001). Age of propaganda: The everyday use and abuse of persuasion. Macmillan.
Staats, A. W., & Staats, C. K. (1958). Attitudes established by classical conditioning. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 57(1), 37.