Peter York On Ads No 245: Armani - Murmuring its praises

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The Independent Culture
The new Emporio Armani scent commercial is both comprehensively idiotic and rather compelling, like so many Fashionland things. It's Armani in Calvin Klein territory with murmurs and mantras, and in Warhol territory with big things said blankly and people perfectly objectified.

It's very stylised; it looks as if it's been directed by a fashion photographer rather than a regular commercials director. Fashion photographers want simple iconic set-ups and beautiful people, regular commercials directors want strong narrative or special effects.

Here we have two beautifuls in profile - in strong black and white of course - drawing closer on-screen. "Mouth to mouth", "cheek to cheek" murmur the off-screen voices, but naturally it's utterly sexless. His off-screen voice adds "she's perfect", "she's mine", but he doesn't look animated. They are replaced on-screen by two metal cylinders with tiny rude holes, which they roll to align, looking miles sexier than the couple.

It's completely balletic, she moves away, he grabs her and they touch, not kiss. The two cylinders do another half-turn to show Emporio Armani in a nice classic typeface. In full face we see she is kind of Eurasian; Fashionland always loves Chinese girls. And he really does look like a ballet dancer and has massive Bambi lashes.

The cylinders nudge closer, then the beautifuls draw away again. Then they're posed together. It absolutely is ballet, focused down for the small screen. This time she's not Eurasian, so they're doing that Sixties movie trick, interweaving faces. He looks heavily lipsticked.

Then the two cylinders display the Armani logo, that stylised Thirties eagle, and across the bottom of the screen where we're expecting the website address we've got all those international words for he and she. And they're off murmuring again "she's mine" "he likes to be touched".

Then - and this really is like the Calvin Klein commercial - the sign- off voice-over is in this tiny, little blanked-out, anorexic, modern, British, model voice like Kate Moss's in the CK ad. "The two new fragrances" she says, as if she's been shut in a veal pen for a week.

"Get together" says a really spaced out American boy's voice. But I don't think there'll be much getting together here.

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