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Friday, December 2, 2022

Beauty Advent Calendars, TikTok, and the Chanel Controversy

As they say, Hell hath no fury like a social media mob that believes it has discovered a luxury fraud.

In the case of a $825 Chanel Advent calendar and the dissatisfied consumer who purchased it, a series of viral TikTok videos went viral this weekend, prompting a large number of people to criticise the business and its products. Or, to be more precise, all over its Instagram feed.

This anti-Advent calendar campaign, on the other hand, has elicited especially strong reactions, presumably in part because of the holiday involved and the notion that, rather than reflecting goodwill toward consumers, this specific gift item signals that they are being played for fools.

What occurred was as follows: In a video uploaded on Tiktoker on Dec. 3, Elise Harmon, who lives in California, can be seen opening a Chanel Advent calendar that is in the style of the Chanel No. 5 bottle.

Despite giving the calendar “a 10 out of 10” for packaging, Ms. Harmon was disappointed to see what looked to be Chanel stickers when she opened a box of the calendar. A hand cream, on the other hand, was something she enjoyed.

To far, more than 50 million people have seen the series, and each post has received tens of thousands of comments, most of which are along the lines of “you wuz robbed” or “who do these people think they are?” To top it all off, Ms. Harmon informed her followers that she had been “blocked” by the fashion house Chanel.

In the thousands, hundreds of comments are written under each photograph depicting the work of the different specialist ateliers Chanel now supports — the flower maker Lemarie, the needlework atelier Montex, among others — and promotional video for the collection film: “Don’t ignore the inevitable! “We’re looking for some answers!” And, “Does the film’s production cost come from the selling of advent calendars?”

At the time of writing, the activity was still going strong four days after Ms. Harmon’s initial video was posted — and her following count was increasing. An same response happened in China, when a blogger blasted the brand’s Advent calendar as being “unworthy of the money spent.”

“The current accusation of a person being banned by Chanel on TikTok is untrue,” said Gregoire Audidier, the worldwide communication and client experience strategy director of Chanel Fragrance and Beauty in an email. As a result, we have never restricted access to the Chanel TikTok page since it is not a live account and no material has ever been posted on it. We are devoted to sharing our creations with our audience across all of the social media platforms on which we are present. The comments section of our sites is accessible to everyone, and our fans are allowed to share their views and ideas, whether they are enthusiastic or critical.”

Limited-edition Christmas calendars are now available from a wide range of brands, including La Mer, Guerlain, and L’Occitane, to name a few. Beauty Advent calendars are also available from Dior ($550), Armani ($310), and Saint Laurent ($300). None of them are inexpensive, and the majority of them include a mixture of beauty samples — the miniature versions of items that are often given away with purchases — and full-size or limited-edition goods.

Moreover, the beauty versions are just the most recent iteration of the way Advent calendars, which were first introduced to children in Germany in the mid-19th century to educate them about the catechism and spirituality, have been marketed through the years. Even the Nazis built their own as a means of spreading propaganda across Europe.

Furthermore, Chanel makes it clear on its website exactly what is included in the calendar’s price, so there is no mystery as to what somebody is receiving for their money. It doesn’t seem that their product is any more gimmicky than that of other companies’ offerings.

However, since it was new, and because it was so expensive, and because it was Chanel, with all of the mythology associated with the brand, the stakes and expectations may have been greater. Much more so, when those expectations are not satisfied, the feeling of betrayal becomes even stronger — and it seems that the impulse to publicly pile on in return becomes overwhelming.

Those who gain from perception may also suffer as a result of it. It wasn’t simply a new tiny perfume that Ms. Harmon discovered when she opened the package. It was an entirely other world, one that was utterly out of the box.

Jonathan James
I serve as a Senior Executive Journalist of The National Era
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