No. 5 on scent of top 5

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In an attempt to make grandma's favorite fragrance more contemporary, Chanel is creating a two-minute mini-movie starring Nicole Kidman for Chanel No. 5, which has slipped in recent years to No. 6 in the U.S.

The fashion house's signature scent, with estimated annual sales of $100 million, has been a consistent presence on the top 10 list of the roughly $7 billion fragrance category since its launch in 1921 despite the influx of hundreds of new entries every year. Many attribute that success to the continual refreshment of the brand's image with daring, cinematic ads, the latest of which-the most expensive to date for the brand-Chanel hopes can remind a new generation of its appeal.

`its rightful position'

The brand slipped to sixth place in the U.S. in 2002, and Laurie Palma, senior VP-fragrance marketing for Chanel in the U.S., said regaining top-five placement is a priority.

"The brand needs to get its rightful position back and this [campaign] is critical, shining a light on No. 5 that hasn't been shone on it in a long time."

The estimated $10 million campaign will launch with a mini-movie directed by Baz Luhrmann that features a romantic interlude between a paparazzi-hounded star played by Ms. Kidman and a handsome stranger (Brazilian actor Roderigo Santoro) she meets in a taxi. The film will launch in movie theaters across 25 markets Oct. 29 and air for a limited time on spot TV beginning Nov. 11. Shorter 30- and 60-second versions will then run on network, cable and syndication. Creative is handled in-house; WPP Group's Mediaedge:cia, New York, does buying.

Chanel has in recent years focused on print for No. 5, but the heavy broadcast buy is intended to better showcase the star power of Ms. Kidman. A collection of 43 print ads, more than half back covers, will run in October issues of beauty, fashion and lifestyle magazines.

Chanel has been successful in reaching younger, hipper consumers in categories such as fashion and accessories-sales grew double-digits in the first half as fashionistas went gaga pairing the new fringed version of the classic Chanel tweed jacket with jeans. The company in 2001 launched the younger-skewing Chanel Chance to drive its slower-growing fragrance business, and the scent-which Ms. Palma said ranks No. 10-has drawn the bulk of its media investment. Now, though, Chanel is counting on the renewed focus on No. 5 to capture the younger set while still appealing to its core late-30s-plus customer.

"This injection of new advertising and a new image brings the fragrance to everyone's mind again and makes it feel modern," said Linda Wells, editor-in-chief of Conde Nast beauty title Allure. Ms. Wells praised Chanel for developing ads that "are incredibly arresting and memorable, run for many years and never feel dated."

Past ad efforts have been shot by filmmakers including Luc Besson and Ridley Scott and featured notable stars Catherine Deneuve and Candice Bergen, but the pairing of Mr. Luhrmann with Ms. Kidman dressed in costumes designed by Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld have set the fashion world buzzing. Conde Nast's Vogue dedicated six pages of its September issue to the campaign, featuring a variety of images and excerpts from Mr. Luhrmann's diary outlining his work on the project, production for which stretched from three weeks into six months.

jumping on mini trend

Dubbing the initiative "landmark" and "much more than an ad campaign," Vogue Beauty Director Sarah Brown said the virtual relaunch of "one of the most legendary fragrances the world has ever known merited the spread as it brings some of the most talented people from fashion and film together."

The mini-movie strategy is one a variety of marketers, including beauty and fashion brands Revlon, DKNY and Diesel, are employing to make a stronger connection with consumers than a 30-second spot allows . In April, Revlon kicked off an image makeover campaign with its own two-minute movies in theaters and, subsequently, on TV, featuring its stable of actress spokesmodels including Halle Berry and Julianne Moore. According to Kiki Rees, VP-media for Revlon, independent research has shown that the emotionally charged lifestyle stories featured in the longer-format spot, "Bellisimo," have helped to change the perception of the brand among the crucial 18-to-34 set. "They don't look at [Revlon] as their mom's makeup," she said. Revlon plans to expand the campaign in January with the addition of celebrity spokesmodels Susan Sarandon and Kate Bosworth.

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