Paco Rabanne
Business Category: 
Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide

A shirtless artist sits in bed talking on the telephone, in front of two wine glasses on a nearby footlocker.

The text of the conversation covers the night before, but is written so that it's unclear if the person on the other end of the phone is male or female. There are seemingly coded references to San Francisco and the ambiguous choice of the word "lover":

"You snore."
"And you steal all the covers. What time did you leave?"
"Six-thirty. You looked like a toppled Greek statue lying there. Only some tourist had swiped your fig leaf. I was tempted to wake you up."
"I miss you already."
"You're going to miss something else. Have you looked in the bathroom yet?"
"I took your bottle of Paco Rabanne cologne."
"What on earth are you going to do with it…give it to a secret lover you've got stashed away in San Francisco?"
"I'm going to take some and rub it on my body when I go to bed tonight. And then I'm going to remember every little thing about you…and last night."
"Do you know what your voice is doing to me?
"You aren't the only one with imagination. I've got to go; they're calling my flight. I'll be back Tuesday. Can I bring you anything?"
"My Paco Rabanne. And a fig leaf."

The tagline, "Paco Rabanne - A cologne for men. What is remembered is up to you."

This ad received some attention in the ad trade press at the time, noted as "gay window" advertising, or gay vague.

Additional vignettes include a lonely writer in Pawgansett, a musician with a towel wrapped around his waist promising the caller another bedtime story, and a man on his boat making arrangements for a rendezvous. All similarly flirted with their lovers over the telephone.

A TV version of this ad, however, left out any doubt about the nature of the caller since it contained a woman's voice (the man's voice contains a French accent).

Nonetheless, advertising legend David Ogilvy, whose agency created the campaign, in 1983 reportedly called the campaign "the most risque copy I have seen."

This image is containted in the book, "The Erotic History of Advertising" by Tom Reichert.

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