In Andy Warhol's Ads series of 1985, the viewer is invited to 'extract' the advertisement from the imagery presented and, instead, treat it as a work of art. Here, Warhol revisits his work in commercial illustration from the early 1950s, appropriating iconic brands, logos and images as the foundation for the series. Warhol presented each image as a noticeable appropriation from a broad spectrum of contemporary culture, rendered in a vibrant palette that encapsulates the artist's Pop vision of twentieth-century modernity. Warhol's selection of images for the Ads series embodied some of the most powerful corporations in America at the time, such as Mobilgas, Paramount Pictures, Disney, and Apple Macintosh. While others, such as Volkswagen, Chanel, and Blackglama, represent some of the most ingenious marketing campaigns in advertising history.
Chanel is appropriated from a 1960s magazine advert for the perfume Chanel No. 5, which featured in copious ad campaigns since its launch in 1921 and was a well-known favourite of actress Marilyn Monroe. Presented in a simple, transparent bottle, the amber liquid becomes the focal point of the product, distinguishing the 'invisible' bottle from the more elaborate designs of the 1920s. This assured minimalism has ensured its timelessness a century on. Representing the formula for the 'feminine eternal' while resisting the whims of fashion, Chanel's No. 5 became an icon of the twentieth century in its own right, inspiring Warhol to feature the work in his Ads series.