Monday, June 16, 2008

vintage perfume ad of the day: Jovan Sex Appeal

This might have been the Black Orchid ad of its day, excepting the fact that Tom Ford is high and Jovan is decidedly low on the culture barometer. To those of you who believe advertising has only recently crossed the line, or that Ford must be high, please see the copy on this ad. Hard to cross a line that keeps moving. Long before Ford decorated (or defaced) the female anatomy with a perfume bottle, there was Brooke Shields, all of tween, whose lips said no as her photo-directed posture and open-to-there shirt said yes, please.

"Jovan, Inc., a small fragrance marketer, spiced up consumer advertising and the fragrance industry in the mid-1970s. Executives at the company used blatant sex appeals to boldly introduce a line of musk-oil-based colognes and perfumes. Headlines proclaimed, "Sex Appeal. Now you don't have to be born with it," and "Drop for drop, Jovan Musk Oil has brought more men and women together than any other fragrance in history." The approach earned the company and its three executives accolades, and sales soared from $1.5 million in 1971 to $77 million by 1978. Eleven years after it was founded, a British conglomerate bought Jovan for $85 million. With no previous experience in the fragrance industry, Jovan's founding executives implemented a sexual marketing strategy that proved to be a very smart venture."

For more of the above, see The Erotic History of Advertising: "Aromatic Aphrodisiacs (Fragrance)"


Julie H. Rose said...

Thanks for this post. I love the trivia (though the sales figures are not trivial in the least).

Yet again, I am reminded of how ghastly the 70's were.

Brian said...

It's a weird ad but sweet too, when you compare it to Black Orchid's. It literally seems sweet and innocent in that context. Sex Appeal for Men smells good--the few seconds it lasts.