Hubert Burda Media

Spike Jonze’s ‘Freaky’ Ad for Kenzo

Kenzo debuts “New World” perfume with a buzz-worthy campaign directed by eccentric director Spike Jonze.

Spike Jonze’s ‘Freaky’ Ad for Kenzo

Kenzo has been doing fragrance for 28 years, five years after Kenzo Takada started his fashion house in 1983. Fragrance is, after all, a natural extension of a fashion brand. But the newly launched female perfume Kenzo World practically makes the internet go crazy, thanks to an out-of-the-box ad campaign directed by Spike Jonze.

The eccentric director (Her, Where The Wild Things Are, Being John Malkovich) shakes up all the norms in a perfume ad to create a visual breakthrough. The ad starts with a beautiful woman, all dressed up for a black tie event. Basically, everything you expect to see in a perfume ad. But Spike Jonze is anything but predictable.

The beautiful woman, played by Margaret Qualley (a dancer who also stars in the movie The Leftovers), quickly exits the ballroom. There, she suddenly makes funny faces and starts dancing a series of weird moves for the next three minutes, to an exclusive track by Sam Spiegel & Ape Drums featuring Assassin a.k.a. Agent Sasco. Ryan Heffington, the choreographer of Sia’s Chandelier, is the man behind the riotous dance moves.

Now that’s, a revolution in fragrance ads.

Kenzo World itself is a creation of famed French nose Francis Kurkdjian, under the supervision of Kenzo’s design duo Humberto Leon and Carol Lim. Described as a fragrance that “shakes the classical dust off of flowers, and dares to go to extremes”, Kenzo World blends peony, jasmine and the sparkling crystals of ambroxan (a chemical used for creating the odour of ambergris, a valuable material in perfumery that comes from whale sperm vomit).


To read Prestige exclusive interview with Francis Kurkdjian, get our February 2014 issue. Contact for back issues.