Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Goons of Guerlain

French fashion empire sends its legal goons after 1000Fragrances blogger Octavian Coifan ostensibly because he violated a pre-launch embargo on an image of their new perfume bottle, but more likely because his unsparing snark got under their skin.

Goon gambit backfires as the perfume blogosphere rallies to defend Coifan’s freedom of speech. (Par parenth├Ęse, avocats, it’s not like you can’t dig up Coifan’s now-deleted posts from the Google cache in about 15 seconds.) 

Meanwhile the knuckleheads at Guerlain end up generating even more unkind commentary about their products and business practices. Here’s a taste from The Non-Blonde:
Guerlain and its owner, LVMH, have been getting a lot of well-deserved flack for destroying the wonderful tradition of the once family-owned house. They’ve been churning one mass-market scent after another in tastelessly expensive packaging that seem aimed at a very specific crowd, from the Russian mob to oil nobility.


carmencanada /Grain de Musc said...

I've been following this affair closely (and blogging about it) because, among other things, Octavian happens to be a dear friend. As he has written since on his blog, this thuggish behavior comes in a specific French political context: our Beloved Leader (aka President Sarkozy) is very keen to pass a law punishing people who download illegally.

Part of this law would allow the French administration to peer into our computers, and even into our email, to see if we are exchanging files. This means spyware, doesn't it?

So far the French Senate have managed to stave off the bill, but the majors are keeping the pressure up and so is Sarko.

This resonates with big corporations such as LVMH trying to control just who shows their visual material and who talks about their product.

Avery Gilbert said...


Thanks for the France-specific context.

In the music industry's fight against illegal downloaders one can argue that their actual product--digital recordings--is at stake. Guerlain doesn't have that excuse. Coifan did not divulge their formula or knock off their fragrance. Nevertheless, they seem determined, like the music business, to go to war with their customers and fans. Not smart.