Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Through the Looking Glass

CNBC.com gives a gloomy rundown of the fine fragrance market. Here’s change in sales versus previous year (data from NPD):
2007     -1% 
2008     -6%
2009   -10%

According to CNBC sales have “languished” since 9/11 and “dropped precipitously” in the current recession, dealing “a body blow to the industry.”


Tough times. So how does the industry’s supreme flack respond?
“The recession just kind of put the last nail in the coffin, to put it bluntly,” said Rochelle Bloom, president of the industry’s trade group, The Fragrance Foundation.
Hunh? I thought trade groups were supposed to talk their industry up, not down.

Bloom drives a few more nails into her employer’s coffin. Fragrance, she tells CNBC, gets “a bum rap” because many people believe it is “unacceptable” in the workplace, it is “bad for the environment” and that it triggers “allergies.”

Is this a super-tricky ninja PR move to stun the fragrance facists by repeating their own propaganda back at them? No, it’s the launch of new industry-wide promotional campaign.
The “One Mighty Drop” campaign is striving to remind people that it can be “part of the emotional heartbeat,” Bloom said. 

Indeed, scents can trigger powerful emotions and help people recall certain memories. It is that emotion that the industry is hoping to tap into with its tagline “One Drop Changes Everything.”
Powerful emotions—like rage, grief, anger, fear? One drop changes everything—like blotter acid, Botox, dendrobatid toxin?

As the Red Queen said, “Take a minute to think about it, and then guess.” 

Alice found a cake labeled “eat me” and a bottle labeled “drink me”. Now, the Fragrance Foundation gives her a bottle labeled “spritz me” and hopes for the best.


BitterGrace said...

I'm glad I came of age in the frivolous 70s, when even grown-up perfumes were fun. Simple pleasure seems to be an alien concept in the marketing world these days.

Nukapai said...


Well, as I am about to start my own web campaign for smell appreciation, I'd love to hear what you think would do the trick. I know what I'd like to experience - and it's certainly not some bland, corporate statements.

Avery Gilbert said...


Now that you mention it, "A simple pleasure" would be a pretty good tag line for a fragrance industry compaign. It cuts against the too-many-brands confusion and focuses the consumer on elemental sensory delight rather than the remind-me-what's-in-a-fougere complications.

One Mighty Drop seems a bit too . . . intense.

Avery Gilbert said...


See above re: tag lines.

For visuals, tell a story with people. A girl and a guy in a Starbucks behind their laptops; he's just become aware of something magical; you see the top of a spray bottle peaking out of her bag. Endless variations keep interest in the campaign. Keep it playful.

And if you're doing it on the Web, run a photo contest or something interactive. I'm confident you can do something more compelling than "pick wallpaper for your bottle."

Nathan Branch said...

I'm a little surprised to read that the fragrance industry has been on a downward trajectory since 2001, as I was reading article after article right up until 2008 that kept mentioning how fast the industry was growing, and how sales were increasing, etc.

So the thousands of new releases each year weren't about expanding global reach but were instead a desperate flail to get something, anything, to stick?

~x~ said...

no movie tie-in?
tim burton needs your emotional hearbeat.
he's screaming "eat me" while you take a minute.

Nukapai said...

I did a stupid-simple thing on one of my fragrance training days that might translate to a web contest actually. Or I don't know if it even has to be a contest. :)

Thank you for the suggestions! <3

Avery Gilbert said...

Nathan Branch:

"Consider the source," as they say. For a different perspective I'd look at quarterly earnings reports of the publicly traded fragrance houses (IFF, Givaudan, etc.) and licensors (e.g., Parlux).

The beauty press might be upbeat but then we sort of expect them to be (they have perfume advertisers). The Red Queen's comments to CNBC are revealing because they are what lawyers call an admission against interest.

But why am I telling you this? Your Luxury Industry News Roundup has been highlighting these issues for a while. So, yes, "desperate flail" captures the flavor pretty well.

Avery Gilbert said...


Tim Burton is one of several reasons why Johnny Depp will never have a fragrance.

On the other hand, our First Nerve people are talking to Tim's people about filming the commercials for our upcoming line of I Smell Dead People fragrances.

There's Dark Psycho, Morbid Curiousity and the his-and-her set Danger to Self and Danger to Others.

~x~ said...

i have no comeback.

~x~ said...

though if i didn't have a buzz i'd come up with something sleepy hollow related...goddamn you chardonnay!