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DEAD OR ALIVE: FINE FRAGRANCE, PHILANTHROPY, AND FREEDOM


While the beauty and luxury goods industry generally is perceived as being ruled by shallowness, greed and egocentricity, many brands and companies do their best to build a more positive image, promoting themselves with "core ethical values". For example, LVMH has an entire program for environmental, social, economic, and cultural sustainability.

Guerlain's engagement of Angelina Jolie as its brand ambassador can be seen in the same light. Known for her unique blend of natural beauty, artistic talent, and humanitarian involvement, and as "the most admired woman in the world" as stated in Guerlain's press clip, Angelina Jolie lends not only enormous exposure to Guerlain, but also an aura of philanthropy. Jolie’s upcoming film about the victims of the Cambodian genocide, as well as her statement that she's donating her entire Guerlain modeling fee to charity, only adds to the good press.

At the worldwide press events for the fragrance Mon Guerlain, journalists received leaflets with prints of some of Jolie's famous political and self-help quotes. “The truth is I love being alive, and I love feeling free. So if I can’t have those things then I feel like a caged animal. And I’d rather not be in a cage. I’d rather be dead.”

We can ask ourselves if it's good taste to mix such serious, harsh statements with something as insignificant as a fragrance launch. Also, more broadly, it strikes us as offensive to glorify happiness and personal freedom in a world where at least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day. These people are unlikely to have the luxury of philosophizing whether they'd rather be dead or alive.
(February 2017)


Image from Lifehack Quotes


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