Ad of the Day: Charlize Theron Perfects the Art of the Fragrance Spot for Dior

Just don't overthink it

There's an inherent impossibility in advertising something physically intangible—say, a scent—via print or television. This, presumably, is why the fragrance industry attempts to sell an idea of a product rather than the product itself.

In the case of a designer fragrance for women, that "idea" tends to come to life in the form of an A-list celebrity (or occasionally a model) wandering aimlessly in some decadent setting, perhaps uttering an awkward phrase or two, preferably in a language not her own, and generally causing the average TV viewer to think, "What on earth was that all about?"

Case in point: Dior's new spot for J'adore.

Dior's minute-long "film," titled "The Future Is Gold," is about as textbook a fragrance ad as one could imagine. There's an untouchably gorgeous star (longtime spokeswoman Charlize Theron) doing some rather bizarre activities (such as climbing up a silk rope like a member of Cirque de Soleil) in various fantastical settings (an ornate ballroom followed by a futuristic cityscape) while wearing a lavish gown (not exactly the outfit one might choose for rope-climbing, but at least she had the good sense to lose the four-inch heels).

There's a voiceover—something about memories and dreams and the past and the future and heaven. And of course, there's Theron seductively purring the final "J'adore Dior."

Doesn't make sense? You're overthinking it.

You're not actually supposed to understand the incoherent dialogue. You're not supposed to know why Theron is climbing onto the roof wearing a red-carpet gown. And you're certainly not supposed to figure out what any of this has to do with J'adore's base notes of "Sambac Jasmine" and "Ylang Ylang from the Comoro Islands."

No, you're supposed to watch it (more than 10 million already have on YouTube), and absorb it—feel it. And then drop $70 on an ounce of eau de toilette next time you're killing time at Macy's before going to pick up your kids at the food court.