Chanel Becomes First Luxury Fragrance Brand to Activate on the Las Vegas Sphere

Chanel is taking its marketing efforts to new territories — and a new format.

The prestige beauty powerhouse is the first luxury fragrance brand to take to Sphere, the Las Vegas landmark that opened in 2023. The activation is comprised of a 90-second spot, which will air multiple times daily, for a limited-edition incarnation of No.5 L’Eau. It started Friday, and will conclude Thursday.

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The product is a reimagined version of Chanel No.5, which itself has a long history of firsts: the first scent launched by a woman couturier in 1921, and pioneered the use of celebrities’ influence on consumers with a longstanding partnership with Marilyn Monroe.

“We were maybe the first luxury fragrance brand at the Super Bowl, and the first to have a cinema director do commercials. We embrace the things that feel relevant,” acknowledged Thomas du Pré de Saint Maur, Chanel’s head of global creative resources, fragrance and beauty at Chanel.

While that adds to the products’ allure, it’s about finding the happy medium between relevance and brand dilution. “Where do you find those opportunities without giving the feeling of being agitated? We live in a period, that is at best, about buzz,” he said. “A lot of brands get lost in that, but being ‘first’ doesn’t mean anything. It’s about being aware of what’s happening, and what makes sense for the brand.”

Staying a few degrees away from “buzzy” has become a top differentiator of Chanel’s marketing strategy, du Pré de Saint Maur said. “I think we are governed by a certain quantity of small talk and little actions in the world we live in. Chanel has always had a slight distance from that. When we do things, we do it big.”

The limited edition of Chanel No.5 L’Eau comes in a drop-shaped bottle, a nod to Monroe’s famous admission that she only wore a drop of Chanel No.5 to bed. It’s the bottle’s oblong nature — and Sphere’s self-evident shape — that attracted the brand to the venue.

“There is a mirroring going on and it felt obvious,” du Pré de Saint Maur said, adding that the format provided its own challenges. “Embracing the unknown is interesting, it’s going out of a comfort zone. But with the LED screen, there’s something very fluid and organic and liquid about it, reinforced by the shape.”

Those technological constraints also informed the content of the 90-second spot. “We have a campaign for L’Eau with people in it, and we decided if we wanted to make the most out of [the Sphere], we’ll plunge into the technical aspects that the face of the structure already delivers,” du Pré de Saint Maur said. “We have waves and moving water, and one idea was just that the bottle is shaped like a drop of water, we make it move, and then the drop goes down, then up. There’s a strangeness to it.” data shows that tourism in Las Vegas is booming, and visitors’ median household incomes are rising as well, up to $93,000 per year in the first quarter. Glossier also inaugurated its Las Vegas store last month.

“I don’t think people expect Chanel to be there,” du Pré de Saint Maur said, though he expects the visuals’ minimalism to speak volumes. “Vegas has such big commercial advertising, so being there and being quiet for 90 seconds is a little parenthesis of calm, which will catch attention in its own way.”

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