Sean John Unforgivable Ad May Be Too Hot


P.Diddy caused another stir with his racy ad shot for the new Sean John label fragrance Unforgivable (if you are curious, you can read my review of the fragrance). The ad shows Sean Combs wrapped in sheets with two women, one Caucasian and one Asian. The ad caused such a stir that the parent company Estée Lauder began to shoot a new “store-friendly” ad. The original ad will be used by Sephora (the only retailer to use it) and the billboards.

The global brand president of Estée Lauder John Demsey stood by Sean Combs’ original decision, “We believe the ads represent the true spirit of Unforgivable. This fragrance is about a man who lives his life with passion and, unapologetically, we respect Sean Combs’ creative perspective and support him in his vision. While it’s unfortunate that some retailers were so uncomfortable with something with that much sexual presence, we respect their decision to do what is right for them.” Via New York Post and other news sources.


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  • Suzy Queue: Publicity, baby. This is what the “Big” fragrances are all about. Maybe they smell great or maybe they don’t, what counts is the image that the fragrance name brings to mind, and the impact that the advertising/packaging/etc has. Sean John has found a way to get talked about– let’s face it, a big lavish Opium-like launch would not be likely to cause a stir. Also, no doubt the image from the ad will stick with many guys who are looking for a chick-magnet scent.

    I have to chuckle a bit at this high-flyin’ talk of “vision” and ” a man who lives his life with passion and unapologetically”. Haw haw haw! When actually, all this man seems to be doing with passion and unapologetically is having sex with two hot chicks! January 20, 2006 at 1:11am Reply

  • kiki Kensington: Interestingly, none of the 3 participants look at all pleased….seems more like a vision of ennui rather than passion. I see them thinking “what now?’ Or perhaps the women are forcing him to choose…ah, the scent of a man with a life of such burdensome complexity. January 20, 2006 at 8:48am Reply

  • Denver to Paris: I know it’s hard to keep up, V, but I believe that Mr. Combs just calls himself “Diddy” now. He dropped the P. last year because — and I quote — “I felt like the ‘P’ was getting between me and my fans and now we’re closer … During concerts, half the crowd is saying ‘P. Diddy’ — half the crowd is chanting ‘Diddy’ — now everybody can just chant ‘Diddy.'”

    As if it weren’t tragic enough for his fans to keep his name straight, there’s this: “I even started to get confused myself — and when I’d called someone on the telephone it took me a long time to explain who I was. Too long.”

    I am not kidding.

    Well. Now that we’ve gotten THAT straight, tell us: have you caught a whiff of the juice yet?? January 20, 2006 at 8:56am Reply

  • linda: I find it curious that in the new ad the women are both white. In this ad one of them is Asian. I don’t see what’s the big deal with this ad. January 20, 2006 at 11:00am Reply

  • Denver to Paris: Linda, they changed the ad because it was too obvious that it showed the aftermath of a menage a trois. has a video about the “controversy” on its Entertainment page under “Watch Free Video.” January 20, 2006 at 11:32am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Suzy, I agree. It is surprising how marketing campaigns stick in the mind. Would Opium be felt the same wat without the name and the advertisement that accompanied it. Well, Diddy knows how to create publicity for himself, that is without doubt. January 20, 2006 at 11:58am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Kiki, I was thinking the same thing. They are looking rather bored, aren’t they? Actually, the ad that ran on TV (you can see if you go to yahoo video and search for “unforgivable ad”) is hotter, so I can at least understand why it was not received well especially in the more conservative areas of the country. January 20, 2006 at 12:00pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Denver, thank you! It is hard to keep track, but at least now I am on top of things. 🙂 As for the fragrance, just click on the link in the first paragraph. It will take you to my review. I really liked it. January 20, 2006 at 12:01pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: L, the ad was changed. I am not sure why the women were changed as well. January 20, 2006 at 12:07pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: D, yes, thank you–one can see the video there and decide for themselves. January 20, 2006 at 12:07pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: M, at least, the parent company offered some support. I almost did not expect it. January 20, 2006 at 12:08pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Ordinarily, I would not even pay much attention to that ad, other than the fact that it does not seem to particularly well-done and that it does not correspond well to the fragrance, which is a very elegant composition–something that you would expect to smell on a really attractive man, but nothing that would make you think “ok, this smells of sex.” McQueen Kingdom smells exactly like what this ad might imply.

    However, these days almost every brand advertised one way or another. The market is too competitive and too difficult to survive without it. January 20, 2006 at 3:48pm Reply

  • mireille: “uncomfortable … with that much sexual presence.” Or that much tastelessness. xoxo January 20, 2006 at 11:33am Reply

  • Mikhail: To quote from Guy Robert “Les Sens du Parfum”, section “Comment choisir un parfum?”:

    A qui demander conseil? (…)

    L’homme de votre vie? Il est “idiot” pour le parfum, les idees qu’il vous donnera viennent de sa reaction aux publicites…
    %%%%%%%%%%%%%%% January 20, 2006 at 6:47pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Mikhail, thank you for a laugh! January 20, 2006 at 6:49pm Reply

  • Campaspe: Ach, I am officially old. All I see is a vulgar shot of Diddlediddledumpling hanging around with a couple of exhausted hookers. Lord knows I hate Opium, but those Jerry Hall ads were sexy.

    When I was growing up, women my mother’s age all said that a good perfume didn’t advertise much anyway, and certainly never on television. How times have changed! Or maybe they haven’t … the perfumes with snob appeal still generally don’t advertise, I suppose. January 20, 2006 at 2:08pm Reply

  • Patti: Shock-value print ads are so contrived, this is no exception. And to my eyes it’s a failure. I must be getting old, because this ad is ridiculous to me. January 21, 2006 at 7:38am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Patti, I agree with you. The ad is not particularly interesting, and like I said, I would hardly pay attention to it, if not for all the controversy surrounding it.

    Now, what I am curious about is the MAC collection you reviewed for Annie today. Off to read! January 21, 2006 at 12:22pm Reply

  • the red devil: the ad was fantastic. stop all the bile against one human being that happen to have been made for life please.Try other avenues too if you cant stand p.diddy/diddy or whatever they call him. February 18, 2006 at 7:13am Reply

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