Walking into a major department store, my eyes fell on a large display for the newest eau de toilette: “Guilty,” by Gucci.
Many a blogger has written on the rather pornographic nature of Abercrombie and Fitch marketing pieces, and with good reason. The photos selling “Guilty” weren’t much better. A man and a woman, both in the buff, wrapped in an intimate embrace, stare down the camera with searing glares, mouths slightly parted, as if they’re ready to say to onlookers, “What? We’re guilty. And we like it.”
Reading the description of “Guilty” on macys.com proves that my interpretation of Gucci’s ad campaign isn’t off base (emphasis mine):
Gucci Guilty is about the feeling that you can attain whatever you want. It is about pushing your personal boundaries and experiencing the thrill of the forbidden. Without compromise, Gucci Guilty is a statement about who you are.A few years ago I started to document the many slogans, product names and taglines I found in our modern marketplace which either glorified sin or assigned typically religious words to overtly secular products. One of my favorites is L’Oreal’s “Infallible” lipstick. I’m still waiting for a dogmatic rouge.
Only in a backwards world can sin not only be attractive, but sold as a commodity. We glorify the capital sins—“Greed” is a board game, “Lust” is a perfume sold by the ever-virtuous creators of Sex in the City, and “Temptation Island” was a reality show Fox mercifully cancelled after three un-blissful seasons.
It’s been said for years that sex sells. But does virtue? Somehow, I don’t think Gucci will be creating the “Blessed Are the Merciful” eau de toilette anytime soon, no matter how bold or infused with hints of citrus it may be. But that would be a perfume I might actually be tempted to buy.