It seemed a dead certainty that when luxury beauty house Chanel entered the advent calendar contest it would be at the front of the pack.
But with a US$825 price tag, complete with branded stickers, flip book and dust bag, it has not put recipients in the Christmas mood.
And social media warriors are taking their revenge on Chanel for, what they believe, is a lack of goodwill during the festive season.
The coveted calendar started getting attention last week when TikToker Elise Harmon posted a video of herself unboxing the Nº5-shaped calendar.
What began as a relatively positive experience, she gave ten out of ten for the packaging, soon spiralled into a series of mixed emotion videos when Harmon revealed the contents of the numbered doors.
While some of the products, including the mini lipsticks and body creams, were a hit, the majority of her videos included products that are not synonymous with a beauty advent calendar – given they were not beauty items.
Multiple stickers, a rope bracelet, envelope seal, magnet and miniature paperweight were among the non-beauty related items behind the dated doors, leaving Harmon somewhat underwhelmed.
Chanel, however, did not take kindly to the criticism of its first advent calendar, and blocked Harmon from social media, according to her TikTok and Instagram channels.
Chanel flatly denies blocking Harmon and said that it was was sorry that the calendar had not pleased all of its customers.
The statement to Cosmetics Business read: “Claiming of being blocked by Chanel on TikTok is absolutely inaccurate.
“We have never blocked access to the Chanel TikTok account to anyone, because it is simply not active.
“It has never been activated, no content has ever been published, it has no subscriber and no subscription. The page therefore appears empty to anyone who visits it.
“When the TikToker visited the page, they naturally found the usual message that they could not access this account, just like anyone else on the network.
“We are very committed to sharing our world and our creations with our followers on social networks.
“Our pages are open to everyone, and millions of followers follow us all over the world. They are of course free to express their feelings and opinions, whether they are enthusiastic or critical, if they respect the rules of good conduct in accordance with the uses of social networks – no defamation, calls to violence, threats, or intimidation.
“We are aware of the comments that are currently visible under our publications and are sorry that this calendar may have disappointed some people.
“This advent calendar is an exclusive item specially created by Chanel to celebrate the 100 years of the N°5.
“Directly inspired by the mythical silhouette of the N°5 bottle, this calendar, only available for a short period, has a unique design and an original content which make it a true collector's item whose value cannot be summed up by the products it contains alone.
“The exclusive content of the calendar has always been fully detailed on our website chanel.com as well as on the packaging of the product: 27 boxes numbered from 5 to 31, containing full-size perfume and make-up products, miniatures and souvenirs all stamped with Gabrielle Chanel's lucky number.”
A dust bag, stickers, magnet and paperweight are among the products featured in the calendar
But the fallout did not end with on TikTok; vigilantes seeking justice from Chanel descended on its other social media streams with a tirade of abuse.
Chanel’s Instagram platform, where it boasts more than 47 million followers, has been bombarded by the anti-advent calendar campaigners, who are hounding its every post with comments referring to the debacle.
One Instagram user posted on an unrelated post – promotional clips from speciality ateliers that Chanel now sponsors – to the advent calendar: “You’re not gonna run from the calendar” [sic].
While others have called for a refund on recipients of the calendar, and others are making jokes at the expense of the “$800 stickers”.
And the action does not seem to be dying down. As of one hour ago [at the time of writing] Chanel’s latest Instagram post, a film related to Métier d’art show 2021/22, was still garnering questions from disgruntled shoppers asking how the “drama” was going.
Chanel is yet to publicly address the issue. However, Bruno Pavlovsky, Chanel’s President of Fashion, told WWD that the outcry was “a bit of a shame because it was not what Chanel intended”.
He added: “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.”
The luxury French house is not the only brand to release an expensive beauty advent calendar – in fact, the brand is rather late to join the party, which kicked off a decade ago.
Jo Malone London’s calendar goes for £325, Dior’s fetches £400 and make-up brand Chantecaille’s can be bought for £335.