- Kworq Team
The fragrance brand Etat Libre d'Orange needed to break into the U.S. market. They thrive off their unique approach to perfume in general, so they wanted their ads to reflect that. They begged us: anything but another sexy perfume ad (Google image search "perfume ad" and you'll see we're not kidding). We sourced authentic bad reviews of all Etat perfumes from different online platforms, discovering in the process that these perfume reviewers all have a career in copywriting. Then we matched the reviews to the fragrances and selected evocative French paintings for a deliberate twist. Are these reviews of paintings or scents? The ambiguity was decadent. The self-deprecation was irresistible.
Because the Bad Reviews idea had already been tested in a previous campaign, there wasn’t much internal selling to be done. When we all first looked at the new creative, which combined the bad reviews with the French paintings, it was one of those moments where everyone knew immediately how well this would work. There was definitely an audible “Oh yeah” from everyone involved. After that, it was just about sourcing and creating all the variations that would go into the campaign.
Creatively, this is a decidedly lo-fi approach. We wanted it to be easy to create more ads if/when we needed as the campaign grew. Really, the biggest technical hurdle was figuring out how to make the landing page unique for each ad that was clicked on, making for a consistent consumer experience.
Luckily, the brand was as cheeky and explorative as it comes. They were fully on board with our approach, especially because of what we experienced with the earlier version of the Bad Reviews campaign. A funny tidbit: the brand, for whatever reason, was unaware that we were running this initial Bad Reviews creative a couple years back, and by the time they had cottoned on to it, we already had the numbers to show its success. This low-tech approach was intentional, allowing the creative to speak for itself.
The comments. The comments from our audience were nothing short of astounding to us. Remarks like, “This is seriously the best perfume advertisement I’ve ever seen…” GIFs that say, “SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY” pretty much sum it up. We looked on in awe at how people were commenting between each other and it really inspired us to then use their comments to evolve the campaign’s next iteration.
With web technologies so accessible and democratized with all the resources available out there, I think we’re seeing many of the lines blurring between front-end development and design. That in itself is exciting, because there is less hindrance in a designer’s ability to express their ideas and get them executed. There’s less of a focus on highlighting new tech for tech’s sake, and a greater concentration of efforts in creating more meaningful, memorable experiences.