Estella Warren plays Little Red Riding Hood in what I consider the penultimate Chanel commercial.
That was before she faced the judge on a May, 2011, incident when she allegedly smashed into three cars in Los Angeles. From Planet of the Apes, to Chanel, to court. What does that tell you?
It tells you, for one thing, that hiring celebrities is a tricky business. They can do things you don't want your brand to do.
For another, sometimes art can imitate life, in ways you can't predict.
Little Red Riding Hood seems like an innocent children's tale. But according to noted psychologist Bruno Bettelheim, it's a myth of innocence lost. The naivete of childhood. The dangers of sexuality. Universal themes abound, with a moral lesson thrown in.
It's also the Chanel branding story: the independent woman going out in the world and taking control of her own life. Perfect for Chanel No. 5, except that I didn't expect her to drink the stuff.
Very few brands have been as carefully nurtured as Chanel, telling its story so many ways. Marlboro, a brand over 50 years old whose story is the American cowboy hero, rarely takes on a view through a new prism. Chanel is much braver: new stories all the time, but with the same message. You can almost see the little black dress under Ms. Hood's cape.
Keeping a brand fresh requires renewing the positioning, the presentation, and the promotion constantly. That, in turn, requires a great deal of both discipline and imagination.
The only thing nobody imagined, I guess, was four months in a residential rehab facility and five years of informal probation.