Have you seen Brad Pitt in the Chanel No5 commercial? “It’s not a journey,” he murmurs. “Every journey ends. But we go on.” All that poetry, and those little outcrops of facial hair to go with it! And those hooded eyes, that ever so slightly pouting mouth!
But of course you’ve seen it. It’s all over television like mould, and if you dial “Brad Pitt” on YouTube, his Chanel commercial is the very first thing that comes up. You can study it repeatedly while you imagine the creative conference at which some bright spark pointed out that the idea of the “journey” has long ago been worked to death, but that there might be some novelty in asserting that this particular adventure is not a journey.
No wonder that the writers at advertising agencies are called “creatives”. Get the right team of creatives together and they will give you the sonorous monologue that continues to unfold as the Brad Chanel commercial rolls on. “But wherever I go, there you are.” Gradually you realise that by “you” he means his own smell. He is speaking through his armpit. At the centre of it all is the radiant force of a fathomless self-regard. This is a man who feels about his own screen presence the way that the emperor Nero felt about his talent for the violin.
A compressed crash-course in how to ham it up while scarcely moving a muscle, the production ends with a full-screen shot of Brad so that he can deliver a single-word sentence: “Inevitable”. But what was inevitable? That somebody would pay him a fortune to imitate Nicole Kidman?