For cosmetics brands, advent calendars are a good way to draw attention during the pre-Christmas period while inviting their consumers to test a large array of new products. Advent calendars have multiplied at breakneck speed in recent years, with some brands even offering up to three or four different calendars.
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Beyond the magics behind these boxes, consumers usually get their money’s worth as well, whether it’s because they’re testing new products, or because they get content that has an overall greater retail value than the price of the package. Indeed, it’s a sales argument put forth for most of the products presented to the public. For instance the Body Shop offers a calendar for US$79 which is actually worth US$132.59 when buying each products separately. Sephora’s calendar is sold at US$45 while it contains products for a value of US$102 at retail price. And Lookfantastic’s US$135 calendar would contain US$640 worth of products.

An assortment that falls short for the price?

If Chanel had until then stayed away from the movement, the first advent calendar of the French luxury house, which represents a giant bottle of n°5, its iconic century-old perfume, has been at the centre of conversations on social networks for a few days now.

It all started on TikTok, with several posts influencer Elise Harmon, followed by some 250,000 subscribers. After having started to opening, day after day, the boxes of her luxurious calendar, the young woman began to share her disappointment.

Miniature versions of collector perfumes, lipsticks, hand creams: the brand’s calendar has a host of objects that beauty fans dream about but it also contains pins, stickers, pouches, and decorative Christmas baubles that - according to some commenters - Chanel would generally offer free to its customers when they purchase a certain product.

Considering the price of the calendar, consumers expected classics, albeit in small formats, rather than trinkets.

However, the brand was fully transparent, providing a detailed list of all the contents of the calendar. According to the count made by ETX Studio, among the most valuable ’gifts’ are the N°5 Eau de Parfum Spray 1.2 fl. oz. (85 dollars), N°5 L’EAU On Hand Cream (55 dollars), N°5 The Bath Soap 2.6 oz. (26 dollars), limited edition Rouge Allure lipstick (45 dollars), LE VERNIS nail polish (28 dollars), a miniature Rouge Allure lipstick plus several miniature collector perfume bottles whose value is hard to identify. This makes a total of about 250-350 dollars, including miniatures. Of course that’s without counting the various bracelets, mirrors, pouches, snow globe and other accessories.

“A true collector’s item”

Commenting on the controversy, Bruno Pavlovsky, Chanel’s Fashion President told WWD that: “This controversy is a bit of a shame because it was not what Chanel intended. Chanel thought it would please some of its customers by offering this type of product. Evidently, we see that you have to be careful and therefore, in future, we will certainly be much more cautious.

He explained the calendar was produced in very limited run as part of this year’s celebrations of the 100th anniversary of Chanel No.5 perfume, and that it was totally sold out.

In an official statement, Chanel said they were “aware of the comments that are currently visible under our publications and are sorry that this calendar may have disappointed some people.

Directly inspired by the mythical silhouette of the No.5 bottle, this calendar, only available for a short period, has a unique design and an original content, which makes it a true collector’s item whose value cannot be summed up by the products it contains alone,” the brand added.