1960s Perfume Advertising


Advertising in the 1960s

The 1960s were all about revolution – socially, politically, and in the world of advertising, creatively. The 1960s were a decade of marketing often called the “Golden Age of Advertising.” In the period before the 1960s most magazine advertisements were illustrations rather than photography. These included many beautifully drawn perfume advertisements, especially those from Paris. Starting in the 1960s, fragrance advertisements combined a message of sex appeal and power to market their products. But women's and men's fragrances were still considerably different in the way the advertising is done. For men they are shown in more casual positions, emphasizing lifestyle over sensuality. There is an emphasis on sports and professions in men’s fragrance ads, while the women’s fragrances tend to be advertised through love, eroticism, glamour and fashion. 

With the rebirth of feminism in the 1960s, advertising was perceived as one of the primary means by which society pressured women to fit into idealized roles as wives and mothers. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, feminists began to actively organize protests against advertisers. As a result, emphasis began to be placed on the independent woman who, although she was married, drove her own car and had a fulfilling job. It wasn't just advertising that was transforming; it was actually part of a larger movement that was affected by other cultural changes that were happening. Bernbach, Lois and Wells were the big names in advertising and today's advertising industry still takes inspiration from the trailblazers of the 1960s with their eye-catching slogans and attention-grabbing creativity.

As the first crop of baby boomers reached adolescence, fragrance advertising began to reflect the sexually progressive social changes taking place in America. Ads for Tabu, English Leather and Emeraude gave consumers a sense of romance, innuendo and downright sexuality in their ads. The first Tabu ad was of a man holding his violin and lustfully hugging the pianist who had accompanied him (more romance than anything else). This ad first ran in 1941 in Vogue and Harper's Bazaar and continued to run all the way through the 1970s. The ad for English Leather had a woman standing next to a man saying "All my men wear English Leather or they wear nothing at all." (there's the innuendo). Interestingly enough in 1990, English Leather changed it to "man" instead of "men". In 1965 advertisements for their fragrance Emeraude, Coty featured close up pictures of gorgeous, seductive women with the headline "Want him to be more of a man? Try being more of a woman." Revlon's Intimate ad read "What makes a shy girl get Intimate? It's the fragrance that does all the flirting for her. The uninhibited perfume that makes things happen. What kind of things? That's her affair."


 Some of the famous faces from 1960s fragrance advertisements: 

  • Jean Shrimpton (Tuvache Oh! de London and Avon)
  • Twiggy (Yardley)
  • Candice Bergen (Elizabeth Arden)
  • Audrey Hepburn (Givenchy L'Interdit)
  • Jennifer O'Neill (Avon)
  • Lauren Hutton (Coty Emeraude)
  • Joe Namath (Revlon Pub)