2010 is the year of Serge Gainsbourg. In addition to the Gainsbourg (Vie Héroïque) movie, out in the UK at the end of the month, l’homme à la tête de chou (the man with the cabbage head) is fronting Caron’s “Pour un Homme” advert.
Every morning, French radio station Europe 1 plays an extract from the 1972 song he did with Jane Birkin to promote the perfume. As Géraldine Dormoy points out in L’Express Style.fr, the singer wasn’t picky with the brands he represented: the suit-maker Bayard, the razor company Bic and the electrical store Connexion.
Caron isn’t the first parfumeur to choose a legendary French star as the face of its product. Since May 2009, Alain Delon, in his 1966 glory, has been the face of Dior’s “Eau Sauvage”.
Before Gainsbourg, rugby player Sébastien Chabal represented “Pour un Homme”. I doubt you can find two men more different, besides their obvious issue with face grooming. They both stand for very different aspect of the macho man cliché, one strong and bulky, the other a real tombeur, lady-killer.
By going back to a 1970s icon, “Pour un Homme”, one of the oldest perfumes on the saturated men-fragrance market highlights its history and heritage. The key marketing question is: will Caron win new customers? Is Gainsbourg the right man to convince the 20-something market to buy the minimalist green bottle? Will it get the over-40 market and it strong purchasing power back to the lavender and vanilla notes of the fragrance? Will Gainsbourg’s voice seduce the girlfriends, wives and daughters who buy a perfume as a default birthday/anniversary/Christmas present?