Beyonce's perfume commercial: Too hot for TV?


We begin at the base of a perfume bottle, its diamond-cut girth giving way to a more cylindrical, skyscraper-like shape, a deep cognac-red yielding to light-beer amber; suddenly, just like that, we're contemplating the bottle's top. A feminine hand removes it, uncorking the bottle and triggering a burst of CGI-generated steam or smoke.

[jump] And there is Beyonce. Beyonce! She appears to be naked, experiencing a climax while enjoying a claw-foot tub bath, writhing, really; either this bathroom is very, very cold, or the bath is very, very hot.

It's also very possible that Beyonce has a fever, because someone, possibly Beyonce, is singing the billionth cover of "Fever" ever recorded on the soundtrack.

Now she is wandering around in some sort of steamy, barely-furnished flat where the walls match the frilly, revealing party dress she has on. Why would she rub baby oil all over herself before slipping into the dress? Couldn't that ruin the dress? Are destiny's children really allowed to be this reckless?

Now she is caressing a wall, and the wall, in turn, is smoldering, on some Human Torch bullshit.

Now she is looking at us, casually breaking the fourth wall.

Now she is definitely not looking at us. Rather, she's savoring another erotically orgasmic interlude against some sort of foyer ledge/mirror set-up, which is worrisome, because what if she loses control and slips and smacks her head on the ledge? That would hurt. Is Hova home? Is anyone else around? Somebody help Beyonce! Get her a divan or something!

Now Beyonce is walking away, and we are remembering that her legs are very striking indeed.

Now the camera brings her to us, or us to her, and she opens her mouth to speak: "Catch the Fever."

Anyone who believes that this racy commercial for Beyonce's new fragrance wasn't calibrated for maximum controversy, outrage, and indignation has a pathetic understanding of how the media works these days. You make a near-pornographic TV spot knowing damn well it's gonna get rejected, that the rejection will stoke headlines, that the offending advertisement will leak online -- where even your 10-year old cousin can watch it on repeat -- then you slyly milk the resulting furor for holiday gift sales.

This is simply the way the game is played. It's a boring game.

While the "Heat" ad is notable for its minute-plus running time and scintillating content, there's not much else that makes it special. It doesn't fit the twin pantheons that most pop-star perfume ads fall into: totally batshit and maddeningly pedestrian. And since the holiday season is upon us (more or less), Gimme Noise decided to revisit some of our favorite daft scent spots.

Britney Spears

Spears' public persona has traditionally fluxuated between manic, naughty, nice, and calm, so it's fitting that the commercials for her "Curious" and "Fantasy" perfumes are so opposite. In "Curious," Brit and a well-coiffed male stranger enter side-by-side hotel rooms and explore blink-and-miss, possibly-precognitive fantasies of intimacy and family without ever actually touching; "Fantasy," meanwhile, is so My Little Pony/Alice In Wonderland/"Mono" fantasia bullshit about how Brit-Brit and K-Fed wuv each other so, so much.

P. Diddy

In the clip for "Unforgivable," Biggie Smalls' BFF skulks around in hoodies and glares at a woman of indiscriminate continental origin -- who glares back -- while pensive strings and pianos duke it out on the soundtrack; Diddy mumbles not-so-sweet post-laddish nothings, occasionally embraces the woman, and basically reinforces his weak acting anti bona-fides. Takeaway: if you subscribe to Cigar Aficianado but aren't wearing this cologne, you're a hoser.

Mariah Carey

What we glean from the black-and-white clip for "M By Mariah": Mariah's a big girl now! Mariah can apply lip-gloss! Mariah can dab on perfume! Mariah can put on earrings! Mariah can cavort chastely with a bare-chested hunk!