By Allyson O’Connor | Impressionist

Yves Saint Laurent recently launched a new campaign for Black Opium featuring a frenzied Edie Campbell navigating dark alleys looking for her dose. Dose of fragrance that is. And we at The Impression are questioning the literalness of the TV spot’s direction.

There is a certain air of mystery about the spot as the viewers watch Edie Campbell wake up in the middle of the night and start searching her nightstand for something. No sooner can you say ‘love is a drug’ than she is out the door in heels running across town through empty alleyways your mother warned you about.  She arrives in a loft to what viewers assume she running for, a man. After a longing gaze she reaches behind him to grab what else, Black Opium. Scent in hand she heads out and spritz herself to euphoric relief.

The spot on its own is one thing, the side spots another. Each features our heroine (pun intended) frantically looking for her fix from dark alleys to drug stores while the messaging reads ‘Need Your Dose of Fragrance.’dose black opium

This campaign is all about hitting us over the head twice as is the print campaign suggest not with one but two bottles.  One in hand and the other glowing with the graphic drop shadow of a junior’s brand. Meanwhile Edie’s choppy black hair, and dark makeup, clothes, and nails combined with her slouch and facial expression suggest she is getting her dose.

Although this dark direction will definitely catch the attention of some viewers, is there a more sophisticated method of portraying an addiction than creeping in alleyways? Typical advertisements for the Yves Saint Laurent beauty consist of classy sensuality while Heide Slimane ads for Saint Laurent reflect an edgy sophistication lacking in the beauty ads.  The general idea behind this campaign is clever- addiction to the product, which why founder Yves, no stranger to hallucinogens, named his fragrance Opium. However, there is more appeal in an advertisement with elegance than one suggesting the product can be found on the streets.


Yves Saint alurent Black opium MC-BLACK_OPIUM_14_for_IPAD


Agency | BETC Paris
Director | Daniel Wolfe
Photographer | Mathieu Cesar
Model | Edie Campbell
Music | ‘Jungle’ written and performed by Emma Louise