Lady Gaga’s ‘Fame’ Fragrance Ad Campaign

Posted on July 17, 2012

Oh, Steffi. You make us laugh.

We’ve learned to overcome our initial reaction to her, which was “THIS is what everyone’s talking about? This Madonna retread?!? Please.” It helped that most of her songs were catchy, her message was largely positive, and her sense of fashion  is ridiculous good fun. But she still manages to say or do things that occasionally have us rolling our eyes, like when she releases her new fragrance and is forced to walk back previous comments where she said she wanted it to smell “like blood and semen.”

“It was taken out of my own blood sample, so it’s a sense of having me on your skin. I wanted to extract sort of the feeling and sense of blood and semen from molecular structures, so that’s where [the rumors] came from. That is in the perfume, but it doesn’t smell like that. Actually, the perfume smells like an expensive hooker.”

Tagline genius! “You won’t smell like jizz when you put on my perfume, but you will smell like a hooker!” Don Draper would be proud. Who wouldn’t run out to the store to grab a bottle of Gaga after hearing that?

According to the label, the perfume smells like “tears of Belladonna, crushed heart of tiger orchidea, with a black veil of incense, pulverized apricot, and, the combinative essences of saffron and honey drops.”

Tears! Crushed hearts! Black veils! Oh, the exquisite pain of being a Little Monster! Even her ingredients are melodramatic. We think the next step for Gaga is a show on the Food Network. “To make my anti-bullying cupcakes, you will need a black veil of Dutch cocoa, the crushed heart of a vanilla seed, and the tears of two unborn chickens. Fold gently, lest you hurt their feelings.”

Yes, we’re total bitches. But we can at least say the ad campaign’s pretty eye-catching and the bottle’s kind of beautiful.



But come on. That’s totally early ’90s Madge.

[Photo Credit: Steven Klein via]

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  • Anathema_Device

    Okay, this is funnier than when Jenna on 30 Rock put on weight and did that commercial for Enorme (accent over that last “E”), the fragrance for fat women. (“Enorme: Make him chase the chunk.”)

    • Hahaha! Oh god, 30 Rock sounds so hilarious in theory, everything I read about it sounds great, but I can never stand watching it for longer than 5 minutes.

      The opposite of Lady Gaga: in theory everything is wrong, annoying and obnoxious about her but it somehow turns out alright more often than not.

      • VioletFem

        So I agree with you about 30 Rock. I really wanted to like the show when it came out (mostly because I really like Tina Fey) but I can’t sit through a whole episode. 

        • I can only handle the first two seasons. After that, they lose me. But I will forever say “You know I’ve always reminded myself of Grace Kelly”.

          • VioletFem

            See! It’s great one-liners like that really make me want to like the show!

          • Courtney St.Julian

            I’ve never heard it before, but I’m going to start using it now!

        • Little_Olive

          Totally. I still cannot put my finger on why exactly that is (and I think Alec Baldwin is great). 

      • MilaXX

         30Rock used to be funny, but now it’s clearly reached it’s expiration date. Fortunately I think Tina realizes this and it looks like this season may be it’s last.

        • Anathema_Device

           I agree. The writing went from witty and oddball to wacky nonsequiturs in the past few seasons.

      • AZU403

        I am tickled by the fact that 30 Rock has nothing to do with this story, yet I completely agree with all the comments!

    • Really kinda gasp worthy in it’s transparent pandering.

    • MK03

      But equally funny as her Japanese commercial. And it makes about as much sense.

    • Aurumgirl

       God.  That’s what I’m going to tell people I’m wearing whenever they ask what my perfume is:  Enorme. 

  • aimee_parrott

    LOL… I would totally watch a Lady Gaga cooking show.

    • Lisa

      I know, I’d totally be on board with that!

    • out for a walk

      Didn’t she do some Thanksgiving cooking special?

      • “Cooking with Gaga” on Alan Carr!

        • Puckndc

          Gagging with Gaga?

        • Corsetmaker

          Which was very funny and a big part of why I quite like her. She really isn’t taking herself that seriously underneath it all.

      • swissgirl

        When Oprah interviewed her she cooked pasta at her parents’ apartment, wearing Givenchy I think. Her father passed by and said, “You look very nice,” as if it was just an everyday thing. It probably is!

  • RzYoung

    Anti-bullying cupcakes!! I love it 😀

  • Ozski

    All I can think of is “Attack of the 50-Foot Woman”.

    • Anathema_Device

       I got a kinky Gulliver’s Travels vibe.

      • TheOriginalLulu

        That pic is totally going to give me nightmares. Tiny little naked men climbing all over me.

        • Anathema_Device

           I know. The pic also brings to mind one of those flea and tick commercials showing the animated colony of parasites living on the dog. ick.

          • TheOriginalLulu

            Awesome. Or the commercial for foot fungus medication, with the little green dudes living under your toenail bed. I wonder if Steffi is trying to tell us about her parasite infestation problem.

            Happy lunchtime everybody!  

      • Oh THANK you for this!!!!

      • Little_Olive

        Aww you made me think of the climbing instruments on my boobs! Pain! 

      • TieDye64

        Oh yeah! Should I thank you or curse you for this, haaaa.

  • formerlyAnon

    ‘We think the next step for Gaga is a show on the Food Network. “To make
    my anti-bullying cupcakes, you will need a black veil of Dutch cocoa,
    the crushed heart of a vanilla seed, and the tears of two unborn
    chickens. Fold gently, lest you hurt their feelings.” ‘

    You DO have the rights to this tied up, somehow, don’t you? Because if it’s not Food Network I see it as a specialty line in some funky-yet-high-end bakery or coffeshop.

  • OMFG you guys! LMAO
    “You won’t smell like jizz when you put on my perfume, but you will smell like a hooker.” Don Draper would be proud.”
    The cooking show…
    AND those are MEN crawling on her?! I honestly thought it was thorns or something like that. OMG

    • alyce1213

      I thought it was crabs at first.

    • NDC_IPCentral

       My myopic squint had those crawling things being TARANTULAS.  I was fearing a look at the close-up, arachnophobe that I am.  If they were, even plastic fakes, I would have to take my chemo cap off to Steffi for bravery, since I’d pass right out if it were me sporting ’em.

    • I love that you can’t tell at first. I think it pulls you in and then you realize they’re little men. Smart, in my opinion.

  • antheapena

    I love the whole campaign but L’il monsters have to keep moving really fast or they may slow down and realise how silly the whole thing is. I think the creative team have used up their allotmment of adjectives for the week though.

  • formerlyAnon

    P.s. So much more interested in La Gaga when she’s more fully dressed.  Though as long as she’ll agree to stop trading on her body once it is more than 50% artificially created/maintained, I say go as the spirit moves you, girl.

    What I’d REALLY love to see is her someday sharing her 40 & 50 -some year old body a la Madonna but without the surgery and aggressive photo shopping.  But, at this point don’t see her taking that path.

  • call_me_schmeg

    gaga serves up arm pit realness

  • formerlyAnon

    Oh, and maybe it’s just all the recent film publicity, but the bottle looks to me like what Superman’s Fortress of Solitude would look like if designed by the Bat Team Architects.  Not all that enticing for a fragrance.

    • Celandine1

      That’s a good one. I thought it looked like a deco spider with a really big abdomen. Filled with venom, lots of and lots of venom. You nailed it when you said it wasn’t that enticing for a fragrance.

  • Pants_are_a_must

    Gaga, you need a break.

    A long break.

    Possibly until your Madonna-retread starts sounding good again.

    Then I can stand your persona.

    • This!  She’s always seemed like a desperate attention whore to me, but this really takes the cake. 

      • gsk241

        Yes!  I’m glad I’m not the only one.

      • An attention whore? You mean, like every other popstar in the world? Color me shocked.

    • She’s been on a break since January. It’s not her fault people can’t stop talking about her.

      Her “Madonna retreads” are never going to end because people are going to always reach back 20 years to find something to compare her to because they have nothing better to do. People will also continue to ignore every other artist who continues to pull from Madonna because it’s only copying and a “retread” when Gaga does it.

      • Pants_are_a_must

        Oh dear, a Little Monster. Is it Karma because I made a dick joke on T&Lo today?

        When people say “Madonna retreads”, they don’t mean it in a good way. And Gaga does it in the most conspicuous and shameless way. People “keep talking” about her because her publicity team is working overtime to make sure it happens. I hope she’s on a break, because her latest album was awful.

    • why do you madonna stans insist on acting like madonna invented everything? 
      oh gaga is wearing a mask she must be imitating the inventor of the universe madonna

    • why do you madonna stans insist on acting like madonna invented everything? 
      oh gaga is wearing a mask she must be imitating the inventor of the universe madonna

  • lucyloo222

    The bottle looks like an eggplant.  And she is totally creepy.  Ick.

  • I’m totally gonna check out this perfume! “tears of Belladonna, crushed heart of tiger orchidea, with a black veil
    of incense, pulverized apricot, and, the combinative essences of
    saffron and honey drops.”  No, really? How can I NOT check this out? And smelling like an expensive hooker – totally on my bucket list!

    • littlemac8

      Yea, just as long as you don’t smell like a “cheap hooker!!” it’s OK

  • twocee

    Ca-REEP-Y.  That photo might well give me nightmares tonight.

  • MightyMarshal

    I hate her, but that perfume bottle is gorgeous. “The first black eau de parfum” is a little cheesy though. Whoever did the type on this did a really great job. A nice solid serif with some interesting details without being gimmicky, a gold metallic gradient that doesn’t look heesy, the sanserif is really nice, and the abstract shape that looks like the bottle is really pretty. It’s a lot better than a lot of celebrity fragrance bottles (Britney Spears, Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift, Mariah Carey) too. I’d rank it up there with Hilary Duff’s surprisingly understated and sophisticated bottle. I want to smell it but something tells me it smells like the back of an old Buick.

  • Vlasta Bubinka

    The bottle looks like an eggplant… sorry the firm fleshy heart of aubergine.

  • …which means it probably smells like every other fragrance on the market.  I could never wear something with the idea that every time I was squirting it on myself, it was Lady Gaga’s blood and semen from the local sperm bank. Pun, intended.

    As for her, I want to like her, but can’t help but think she just thinks of the most outrageous idea or quote and does it just to stir people.  She’s smart enough to figure out what works in the industry and is making bank on it.  I applaud her for that.  

    • formerlyAnon

        “She’s smart enough to figure out what works in the industry and is making bank on it.  I applaud her for that.”

      Yes. Exactly this.

      I have high hopes that in a couple of decades, whatever she’s doing, she will have managed to make and keep more money than did her management team and assorted entourage.  We will know what is really important to her and whether she’s a real force or a lightweight in a couple of decades. Right now it’s all just business-like play, IMO. Which is perfectly appropriate for someone her age.

      • Yes, even as annoying as she is, I can’t hate on the fact the woman knows what she’s doing. 

  • DaveUWSNYC

    I picture those little guys singing “Climb every mountainnn…ford every streammm…” 

    • Ms_Flyover

      I can see it – but they all sound like Tom Waits singing it.

  • schadenfreudelicious

    Gaga’s got cooties…..

  • The copy for the fragrance is such a blatant ripoff of what Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab has been doing since the early 2000’s.

    • HengRu

       And the whole “blood + semen” conceit is an even more blatant ripoff of Etat Libre d’Orange Secretions Magnifiques.

      • And Gaga having two feet is totally a rip off of Adam and Eve!

    • tereliz

      Yes! It’s trying to be evocative but just comes off as campy. Whereas bpal is essentially sticking with their brand. Love me some Snake Oil. Mmm!

  • PinkLemon

    cheap cheap cheap. but yous twos make me laaauuugh hahaha

  • Human Nature video circa 1995  #Yawn  But, yes, the bottle is quite lovely.

  • afabulous50

    Madonna retread – you got that right!

    • CozyCat

      The difference is that Madonna was, in the truest sense, a “style icon.”  Real women (the ones under 25, anyway) would copy her latest incarnations.  And she doing it for decades!

      But Gaga is too out there for anyone to copy.  Even when she dresses in real clothes (as opposed to meat) she is creating a UNIQUE look–which is great for a performer.  But, to paraphrase a great movie line:  “Doesn’t make her Madonna.  Never will.”

      Case in point:  do her quotes and this picture actually make you want to BUY the perfume?  I’m not sure….

      • Sobaika

        Working Girl!

      • “Sometimes I sing and dance around the house in my underwear. Doesn’t make me Madonna. Never will.”
        One of my favorite movies EVER. L

    • ericgoesgaga

       Your an idiot

  • Meh. I’m not even shocked or scandalized by anything she says or does anymore. Thus, she’s no fun.

  • LinXGUA

    Imagine how surreal would be the ad if she was dressed. 
    Imagine her in a tailored white shirt, for example. It would add mystery. Here, there’s no room for imagination, and it seems … sterile (get it?)
    .This perfume makes you smell like “an expensive hooker” and it’s called FAME. Oh Gaga, that’s what i like about you.

  • marilyn

    Doesn’t she have enough money that she doesn’t have to do totally embarassing things like this anymore?  Exactly what market is she trying to attract with this soft porn shot of little clay men holding up her body parts?  Yikes.

  • Leslie Streeter

    She’s increasingly tiresome, because there’s no joy in her outrageousness anymore. She’s one-upping herself and waving “Yoo-hoo! Lookit me!” And it’s all very boring. And that is so the “Express Yourself” video pose. Madge might not have been gracious about Gaga recently. But she ain’t wrong.

    • So now Madonna invented that pose. Damn, Madonna invented everything.

  • Funny, I was thinking it was a bit more Joel Peter Witkin than Madonna, but google “Joel Peter Witkin Madonna” and the first image is the Gaga ad. Great minds!

  • MilaXX

    We think the next step for Gaga is a show on the Food Network. “To make
    my anti-bullying cupcakes, you will need a black veil of Dutch cocoa,
    the crushed heart of a vanilla seed, and the tears of two unborn
    chickens. Fold gently, lest you hurt their feelings.”

    Actually I think that was the mystery ingredients on last week’s CHOPPED.

    As for the fragrance, both the ad and copy made me roll my eyes. I can’t imagine anybody but the most die hard of stans buying this.

  • gsk241

    “tears of Belladonna, crushed heart of tiger orchidea, with a black veil
    of incense, pulverized apricot, and, the combinative essences of
    saffron and honey drops.”

    Ugh.  This sound exactly like something a 14 year old “goth” girl would have written on an IRC chat board in 1995.  I wonder if she also “practices witchcraft” and reads Edgar Allan Poe.

  • tereliz

    I feel like the name of the perfume is missing a word on the end. A five letter word. 

    • Pennymac

      Took me a minute, but YES!

  • pookiesmom

    I like that she’s not taking herself too seriously. This is actually hilarious, and for once I feel the star is in on the joke (rather than the unintentional melodrama that usually accompanies new perfumes).

  • Sobaika

    Was I the only one to see this and think of Clash of Kings?

  • Kayceed

    I think being Gaga’s staff copywriter would be a hoot. And a half.

  • Mildred20

    I would rather see HGH in the same pose.

  • Combinative? Is that even a word? Seriously, she HAS to be laughing all the way to the bank.

  • Excellence_and_Elegance

    Look, if you want to smell like semen, there is a less expensive way to do it.

    • MissAnnieRN

      Just ask Monica lewinsky!

  • Gah, I just can’t with celebrity perfume.  When Chanel exists in the world, why would I go to the drugstore to overpay for something with all the cachet of Love’s Baby Soft?

    Hi.  I am an old and a perfume snob.

  • “… and now, introducing Fame Homme — featuring tears of Madonna, essence of cigar smoke, also a bit of pulverized apricot because we had a lot leftover from Fame Femme, and the combinative essences of truffles
    and zebra musk.”

    • minnye

      Scanning quickly down the page, for a sec there I thought you wrote “zebra mussels” and got this image of Gaga mania as an invasive species…

  • Sadly, I’m over it. She seems to be grabbing at straws now. NEXT.

  • As an alternate to naming the perfume “Fame”, she also considered “L&O: Sex Crimes Eau de Parfum”.

  • IAmJ

    The Gaga cooking show write-up is genius. Love.

  • BrooklynBomber

    “anti-bullying cupcakes”


  • Scarlet39

    My first reaction to that picture was to try and hold in my vomit.  Not sure that’s the reaction one wants for a perfume, but hey, if that’s the vibe Steffi was going for.. well, congratulations!

    • margaret meyers

      Is this the kind of thing Europeans say Americans don’t understand?

  • claudemtl777

    The packaging screams Mugler, no?

    • Kayceed


  • Elias Pineda

    little monsters make every gay steotype take human form. so sad. nd she is such a copycat   but   nice bottle haha 

  • Ms_Flyover

    It’s like a bad S&M retread of Gulliver’s Travels envisioned as art porn.  

  • Carla Axtman

    From afar, it looks like Gaga is covered in tiny tarantulas. (shudder) 

    Naked woman wearing tarantulas while hawking belladonna laced fragrance is not sexy. Yeah. That’s right. I said it.

  • guest2visits

    Well I’m certainly going to have to see what the hell it smells like.  There’s a bit of M.C. Escher in this semi-nightmare imagery.
    With a bit of Madonna thrown in. Though Madonna was a pure feminine fantasy induced perspective; beauty and unrestrained
    wilfulness.  Gaga is beauty off-center; all the prettines is pantomimed within her giant oddball exhibition.

  • GTrain

    It was so nice having a break from her pretentious antics. Guess it couldn’t last forever.

    • You can always, you know, ignore her, but that wouldn’t be much fun, would it?

  • Little_Olive

    How can they complain about fame as an unwanted side effect of being a performer, and then name a perfume after it? What is the market target, wannabes??

    On a side note, can I print the picture of those boobs and get a plastic surgeon appointment? 

  • random_poster

    TLo:  Thank you for the laugh.  I always appreciate your insightful commentary. 

  • MissAnnieRN

    The fact that she is Madge 2.0 really amuses me though. Like I live for all the bitchy gossip that comes out of it. You know Madge never figured there would be another her. Especially since she’s still putting out albums and touring and ahit.

  • Catiline

    I should not have been drinking coffee while reading that intro.  I really did almost spit it out. 

  • Amy

    “But she still manages to say or do things that occasionally have us rolling our eyes…”

    I agree completely. The thing I like about her is the anti-bullying/ pro LGBT/love yourself message. But for all her “uniqueness”, it’s soundbites like these that are a reminder of how trite a popstar can be. Especially one who, at the ripe old age of 26, thinks she has it all figured out.

    • formerlyAnon

      One of the best perks of being one of the unknown nobodies of the world is that there are no past interviews extant.  I am over 50 and still do not have the emotional distance to be anything other than embarrassed and mortified by some of the things I probably would have said in an interview 30 years ago.

  • Pennymac

    That last picture of her makes me itchy, for some reason. And not in a good way. In a “A bug!!! Where?!?!?! Get it off me getitoffmegettitoffmeeee!” kinda way.

  • Judy_J

    Oh.  How very original. (Where’s that scarcasm font when you need it?)

  • mom2ab

    She exhausts me.

  • claudemtl777

    Since every one is comparing Gaga and Madonna : the bottle is way nicer on this one than with “Truth or Dare”. Madonna’s is like something you’d find in a discount bin at Rite-aid. (this one you’d find in a discount bin at Nordstrom’s)
     Celebrity fragrances are gauche, no matter who does them, IMHO….

  • prettybigkitty

    Heart you guys for this critique.  On the money!

  • Gaga does the same thing that the old Madonna used to do … which is to be a part of the joke.  Now Madonna is just the joke.

    She’ll make more millions out of this fragrance and more power to her.  Me, I’ll stick to Chanel No. 5 which is still my all-time fav.  

  • CatherineRhodes

    Curious what everyone thinks — is she ripping off Madonna or paying homage?

    • Neither, unless Madonna filed a patent for black and white photos.

  • margaret meyers

    A little man is humping my left nipple, and the little man sniffing my arm pit says it is irresistable!

  • SophieCollier

    It would be so much fun to be Lady Gaga.  

  • bitchybitchybitchy

    This is worth it simply because it gave TLo the inspiration for Gaga’s cooking show….

  • enchanted216

    I think it’s pretty neat!  I wish I had that body!

  • Stefanie Mackenzie

    Ew…I thought the things crawling on her were bald tarantulas. Next was wondering who in the hell shaved ’em or got the fur off. Shuddertastic. I really want black perfume. Wont where you sprayed it be ever so fetching? 

    • Corsetmaker

      No different I would think to purple or dark brown perfume which has been around for a while. I’ve had perfumes that were very deep brown in the bottle but they don’t discolour the skin – and I’m very, very pale.

  • Why can’t she do anything without people bringing up Madonna? How many times has Britney, Katy, and Rihanna pulled from Madonna with absolutely no outrage? Gaga can’t even wear a blonde wig with a ponytail anymore without people screaming Madonna, but when Katy Perry wears a ponytail, no one cares. I don’t get it. Is it because they’re both white, blonde females? Is it because people feel Gaga is truly the Madonna of this generation? Do people forget that Madonna’s entire career has been nothing but pulling from people around her? She has stolen from every major pop culture icon to the point where you can’t do anything without being compared to her. Genius? I suppose. Annoying? Of course, especially when someone like Gaga, who has more musical talent in her toenail than Madonna does in her entire body, can’t do anything without people going back a decade or more to find something to compare her to. When you have to reach back more than a decade to find something to compare her to, then your argument is idiotic, especially when Gaga’s contemporaries NOW are pulling from her and people ignore it. Let Gaga do what she wants, she can’t help that Madonna invented white skin and black and white photos.

    • Don’t be silly. Of course Madonna didn’t invent “white skin and black and white photos.”

      She invented the “pop star posing naked in a fetish mask” black and white photos.

      And we are, of course, “let[ting] Gaga do what she wants.” We have no power to do otherwise. Or is talking about her somehow restricting the poor dear from taking whatever actions she wants?

  • quiltrx

    I must go smell this, so I can begin to pretend to comprehend the description.  I do like the bottle, and the pics are cool.

  • Corsetmaker

    I never buy celeb perfume. But the bottle looks quite cool. Silly copy but it’ll appeal to the fans.
    Why do people get so wound up about her though? Her tongue seems very firmly in her cheek to me. Every time I see her interviewed there’s a barely concealed wink.

  • Deb Oswald

    THANK YOU for a terrific laugh this morning- witty as ever T-LO!!!  hahahahaha

  • Diego!

    This add seems like a page ripped off of Madonna’s Sex book. Copycat.

  • I just keep thinking of my favourite Mugler fragrance when I look at the bottle. 

  • LambeeBaby

    ugh…over gaga’d. So much exposure and “art”,very poser-ific. I guess there is a market for it so what the hell, might as well make the money especially if she is giving some portion to charity.

  • Vic

    Perhaps Madonna’s beaten Lady Gaga in the “shock” department by decades, but there’s no denying that unlike Madge, she can sing. Just listen to her acoustic versions of her songs. 

  • Vic

    Perhaps Madonna’s beaten Lady Gaga in the “shock” department by decades, but there’s no denying that unlike Madge, she can sing. Just listen to her acoustic versions of her songs. 

  • rafraf25

    First thing this reminded me of was Gulliver’s Travels. So it just made me laugh

  • andreawey

    this reminds me of that commercial for york’s peppermint pattys when the lady talks about hundreds of itty bitty snow men running up and down her spine…..;)

  • yeah but madge is 54 years old and shes acting like some jealous 13 year old bitch 
    madonna copied numerous people in her day 
    its extremely hypocritical of her to bitch about gaga 

    ugh when will people realize that nothing is original in this world anymore 
    gaga isnt original and never will be 
    madonna is and has never been original 

  • who cares if shes a famewhore 
    shes breaking bank 
    making more money than we will ever see in our lives 
    if you think about it everyone in hollywood is a famewhore – they aspire to be loved and to obtain notoriety 

  • Annabelle Archer

    I realize this post is old and likely this comment will never be seen, but the TLo fans will get my dismay.  For the longest time I have been so over Steffi, then I loved the high fashion phase and made peace with her existence.  
    I smelled this perfume while out shopping this weekend….omg….DIVINE!! It smells so good and I am so pissed about it.  I don’t want to give her my money, but I want a bottle for Christmas from my hubby. I’m so ashamed. : )