Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Perfume? What Perfume? I Just Came For The Party + Opus V Winner

What's the ideal setting for trying a new perfume? How about this: a darkened room; loud music thumping in the background; twenty or so people engaged in animated conversations; plates of pungent food being carried back and forth; the air filled with the odour of scented candles...?

No? Didn't think so. And yet this seems to be in the way in which so many companies choose to send their fragrant creations into the world.

I absolutely don't wish to bite the hands that have invited me to several product launches over the course of the last few months. I'm grateful for the invitations and I think I'd probably rather attend an ill-judged launch than no launch at all. But as someone who genuinely loves perfume, I think it's a real shame that the culmination of several months, if not years, of hard work is rarely presented in a flattering light at these events.

Maybe I'm too easily distracted. Maybe I need to do what most other people seem to do: sniff, smile and say the perfume's "lovely". Maybe I shouldn't take it all so seriously. Or maybe the people in Marketing Land need to realise that sometimes they don't do themselves, or their perfumes, any favours whatsoever.


On a more cheerful note, I've popped over to Random.org and I can now announce that the winner of the Opus V draw is

Product Pixie

Congratulations to you! Please send an email to persolaise at gmail dot com with your postal address.

Everyone else: thanks very much indeed for your entries. I expect I'll hold another draw before too long.



  1. Yes, I can see your point. Maybe people like you and I would be considered to take perfume "too seriously" by most standards, but presenting a new fragrance in that manner really doesn't make sense at all. Having a party is wonderful, and that's one thing, but trying to sample a new fragrance while being accidentally elbowed carrying a plate of salad? That's not fun.

  2. Hi Carrie,

    Many thanks, as ever, for your comment.

    I actually could've written about this topic at some length, but I needed to keep the post short and pithy. I think the main problem is that, as you point out, there are several different types of people who get invited to these events. The likes of you and me would most definitely be seen as the geeks who just need to lighten up a little.

    Many (perhaps even most) people are quite happy to experience a new perfume whilst drinking a cocktail and digging into a spicy curry because they have no intention of producing any original writing on the product anyway. They'll just take the press release, play around with it, highlight the official list of notes... and move on to the next party.

  3. Well said in your previous comment, "They'll just take the press release... and move on to the next party."

    I think a really good perfume launch would be boring for the regular attendee types. Having never been to one myself I can only speculate, but I always imagined them filled with fashionista types, Zoolander'esque and what not! Maybe a great perfume launch would need strictest focus on the fragrance, taking the attendees on a journey through the creative processes and expressing that through the setting of the venue: edible notes in the fragrance in the food and drink being served. Visual cues that may have inspired the perfumer/s. Perhaps the fragrances composition broken down and separated for all to sniff on their own.

    Make it an experience, not just a "trendy" event.

  4. Liam, I couldn't agree more, but as you say, that's probably the sort of experience that wouldn't appeal to most of the guests.

    So much of the perfume industry's publicity is driven by re-written press releases, and that's a real shame, considering how many talented, passionate writers there are out there.

  5. Language is paramount again it seems ;)

    Well I've certainly learned in the last few months that developing your writing skills is as important in the fragrance industry as anything!

    You're definitely on to something.

  6. Liam, yes, I think language is a very large piece of the puzzle...

    ...and I'm not sure what I'm on to, but I'll let you know when I find it ;-)


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