Sales of Dior Sauvage explode thanks to Johnny Depp
Welcome to Fragrance Friday, where each week we’ll update you on the most iconic new releases from the dynamic world of men’s fragrances. Born out of a desire to showcase one of the most overlooked, yet versatile elements of any discerning man’s style, this weekly column will help you polish your own signature scent.
I don’t know why — well… I am, pretending ignorance helps me sleep at night — but the Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard case didn’t just become the seismic cultural moment of the year. It has also become a polarization lightning rod. Discussions of how society engages with both celebrity and cancel culture have been opened up to make room for heated take on Depp’s successful libel case against his ex-wife. The lawsuit is another example of a generation desperately trying to use a title to (arbitrarily) assess who is a “good person” and who is a “bad person” based on moral purity or lack thereof. .
I realize this is a weird way to start another edition of our weekly Fragrance Friday column, but maybe you see where I’m coming from. Johnny Depp has become a bit of the hero of this whole defamation lawsuit. While I won’t go into arguments for or against it, I’ll show you how fascinating it is when you look at Dior’s longstanding partnership with Depp, which dates back to 2015 and focuses on what’s now the best-selling perfume in the world – Dior Sauvage.
Sauvage has become a bit like the Chanel n°5 of the new generation, which favors unisex perfumes. That’s probably why Dior Sauvage has been flagged not only as the best-selling men’s fragrance of our time, but also as the one dominating the women’s category.
As reported by Marie Claire earlier this year, before the Depp v Heard lawsuit hit the digisphere, a bottle of Dior’s Sauvage was sold every three seconds in 2021. Now that Depp has won the lawsuit and Dior has quickly rotation of his Sauvage ads, it’s likely that jaw-dropping rate will increase even more as Depp supporters use the scent to show their support for the Pirates of the Caribbean actor.
Is that a surprise though? Dior Sauvage is a real beauty in perfume, and the more recent release of Dior Sauvage Elixir just serves as a reminder of that. I took a closer look at last October’s release for a Fragrance Friday edition, finding that Fougère Aromatique has become a staple when it comes to the best men’s fragrances to wear these days. Yes, even more than 1 Million Lucky.
RELATED: Why Johnny Depp’s Net Worth Isn’t As Much As You Might Think
Dior Sauvage Elixir, which was crafted by Dior Master Perfumer François Demachy, is defined by the following:
Top notes: Cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, grapefruit.
Heart notes: Lavender.
Basic notes: Liquorice, sandalwood, amber, patchouli, Haitian vetiver.
Yes, it is not a very complex bill, but it is a bill that works quite well. It’s also not common for a celebrity-backed perfume to be worth more than $40 (keep those margins wide), yet a bottle of Dior Sauvage Elixir costs $205 per 60ml bottle in Australia. Celebrity perfumes are profit-making machines, making perfume one of the most lucrative businesses for someone who already has immense celebrity power behind them. But most celebrity perfumes are much cheaper.
Imagine then how much Dior must gain by aligning a Sauvage promotion with the intense publication fascination, justified or not, that surrounds Johnny Depp right now.
And it’s an interesting talking point for the simple fact that Dior didn’t back down from associating the house with Depp, even when the outcome of the lawsuit wasn’t so clear cut. Fashion houses have a long history of walking away from celebrities when controversy hits.
Kate Moss was left out of a bunch of planned ad campaigns with Chanel and H&M in 2005 due to public drug use, while a few others walked away from Tiger Woods in 2009 when the golfing legend admitted to several extramarital affairs .
Fashion houses take major risks when they associate a celebrity with a product rather than something a little less risky like a model. As long as the model isn’t also a well-known character, it’s basically a blank slate for product messaging. While a celebrity inevitably comes with existing baggage and perceptions. It’s not just past baggage, either. It’s everything the celebrity could be involved in in the future, from drugs and alcohol to sex scandals or – since the threshold of tolerance no longer exists – saying something offensive in a Tweet.
With the general public absolutely exhausted from cancel culture fanatics, it’s likely that Dior can safely strap in for a very wild ride with Sauvage at least next year. As Johnny Depp fever looms on the horizon, with all the polarization that goes with it, it looks like sticking with the actor through the trial will pay off massively.
It should be noted that unlike other celebrity perfumes, Sauvage does not actually belong to Johnny Depp. He wasn’t involved in the production process as far as I know, but he was always the face of it. The actor has become synonymous with perfume because of the commercials he and Dior have been shooting together since 2015.
Does this mean that the Sauvage line will continue to evolve? It is probable. Dior has already capitalized on the fragrance by launching Sauvage ancillary products like a body wash. And if you’ve been paying attention to Fragrance Friday, you’ll know that these supportive products are some of the best ways to make sure your scent lasts all day.