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Dark to Light

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Gucci Guilty used to be an award-winning Top four fragrance with a provocative positioning of “sexuality on display”. However, it dropped to number 40 due to lack of innovation and repetitive campaigns. For five years sales had fallen -15% each year. 

The brand has always targeted young consumers but found itself no longer resonating among millennials thanks to clichéd advertising of an attractive man and woman seducing each other.  

Millennials see sexuality very differently. They don’t conform to gender norms and are not ashamed of their indulgences. They are not guilty. 

But this change is not overtly displayed. The millennial seduction game has moved into dark social, a place they feel free to indulge without feeling guilty.  

Dark social is one-to-one or one-to-few conversations that mainly take place on messaging apps such as WhatsappSnapChat, and dating apps such as Tinder. In fact, 69% of content shared worldwide is now on “dark” social channels according to Radium One, where people feel safe sharing and engaging with sexual content. 

Nevertheless, they still conform to societal expectations on “light” social media. For example, Facebook Jane is very different from Snapchat Jane. People have different personas for every social media channel. 

To bring its global audience back to Gucci, MediaCom had to embrace this new playing field and give them a reason to talk about the brand on both “dark” and “light” channels, blurring the lines between the two. 


This campaign would give its international audience the chance to be unapologetic for their sexuality, creating a #GuiltyNotGuilty movement. 

And MediaCom did this by seducing the audience in the way they seduce in real life. The art of seduction may not have changed – but the way the game is played has changed significantly. 

The agency recognised the power and influence of dark social over light. People felt more comfortable sharing the risqué side of their personality (Guilty) through dark channels whereas their public-friendly profile (Not Guilty) would live on light channels. 

The strategy would be “Dark to Light” – creating two pieces of content that lived on both sides of the Guilty/Not Guilty spectrum and enticed people to break taboos by being braver with their sexuality.  

The “dark” content depicted Gucci ambassador Jared Leto surrounded by two young models. They engaged with each other in a sensual manner, fully free but in an authentic, unapologetic way.  

Sometimes the two women would be engaging each other, at other times all three would be seducers. 

Jared would release the dark content first, giving the audience the chance to become the first to share the “darker” creative with their more public audience and open up all their social networks to be free from guilt. 

Follow-up mainstream content, released on light channels, would appeal to the masses but tease them about missing out on the darker content. 


The agency premiered the full “dark” advert on SnapChat a full hour before the censored version aired mainstream media. 

Jared Leto directly messaged 100 of his most influential followers on the platform with exclusive behind-the-scenes content and the full uncensored ad, ensuring reach was far and wide. 

Fans then shared this content with their followers, creating a tidal wave of content sharing. 

An hour later, the agency premiered the “light” content across global platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and other mainstream channels with a teaser of the dark advert, leading people to search #GuiltyNotGuilty which directed them to its hub: 

PR triggered the broader media with news sites picking up the story of Jared releasing the ad on Snapchat.  


Results for this campaign remain confidential at the client's request. 

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Gucci Guilty
Brand Owner:
Coty Inc.
Luxury Goods
September - December 2016
Media Channel:

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