Despite the controversy surrounding Johnny Depp in the past year, LVMH’s CEO said the actor drove major sales for Dior’s fragrance division.
According to LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault during the January 26 presentation for the luxury conglomerate’s 2022 financial report, Dior Sauvage was “a leader in perfume sales” over the course of the year, “achieving remarkable success” that was “driven by the image of Johnny Depp.”
“You’ve probably seen the ads; that’s working very well,” he said.
In the “2022 highlights” section of LVMH’s financial report, Dior Sauvage is the only fragrance listed under “strong growth in perfumes.” The report states that “the continued global success of Dior’s Sauvage, once again world leader in 2022,” was a main point of success. The other beauty-related highlight mentioned was “A remarkable rebound for Sephora, which confirmed its place as world leader in the distribution of beauty products.”
Dior Beauty has kept Depp as the face of Dior Sauvage since the fragrance’s 2015 launch, even after he was dropped by both Disney and Warner Brothers from major film franchises over the controversy surrounding abuse allegations by ex-wife Amber Heard.
Following the start of the highly publicized April 2022 trial in which Depp sued Heard for defamation, the actor was prominently featured in ads for the fragrance. This included a TV commercial that aired in June 2022 with the tagline “Fearless yet human,” as well as Sephora Instagram ads in May. His image also continued to appear on in-store displays of the fragrance, while Dior Beauty last featured him on its Instagram account in a September post showing a clip of the commercial. In August, it posted several videos of him performing at a concert in Paris.
Overall, LVMH’s perfumes and cosmetics division received 17% revenue growth in 2022. While Dior Sauvage was the main fragrance named as a growth driver, other flagship fragrances including Miss Dior and J’adore were highlighted during the earnings presentation, along with the Prestige serum and TikTok-viral Dior Addict lip oil. Guerlain, Parfums Givenchy and Fenty Beauty were also listed as sales drivers.
The sensationalism of the Depp v. Heard trial earned more social engagement at the time than any other news story, according to Axios. Viral posts about the trial leaned in favor of Depp, despite the evidence of abuse presented by Heard’s legal team at the trial. Support for Depp was also amplified online by far-right influencers, while right-wing media outlet The Daily Wire spent tens of thousands of dollars on ads in support of Depp.
Depp is still featured on Dior Beauty’s homepage and reportedly renewed his contract with Dior in 2022. A representative from Dior Beauty was unable to provide details by the time of this story’s publication. The brand’s most recent social posts about Dior Sauvage feature an ad with soccer star Kylian Mbappe, who was named a global ambassador for the fragrance in 2021.