Perfume ads stereotypically rely on slender women, beautiful clothing and dreamlike backdrops or steamy scenes to advertise their products, so what can they do to stand apart? How do you use an image to convey a scent?
There are various methods brands use to get round this. Some brands have taken to putting a sample with their advert either in the form of a sticky flap or mini piece of material soaked in the perfume. Avon even uses a ‘rub and release’ method which is clever, but like the others doesn’t even come close to recreating the methodology of selecting a fragrance.
Buying perfume is a whole experience in itself. First you admire appearance of the bottle and how it feels to hold. Then you lift it to your nose before spraying it on your wrist. Finally after a couple of hours you will have a sniff to see how the perfume has blended with your own scent and if it has worn off or not.
Flicking through ELLE magazine the other day I had got about 50 pages in and had already seen about 12 perfume ads, when one caught my eye. There was a distinctive absence of a beautiful woman, instead just the image of the perfume bottle, layered around seven times. Homing in to the middle of the page, I saw what appeared to be a 3D cardboard perfume bottle.
Peeling the little cardboard envelope from the page I wondered how it worked. Following the instructions, I pulled the tab at the top which revealed the spray nozzle. It also transformed the flat pack to a prism – effectively a mini bottle of perfume. From here you simply press on the face of the image to release the spray. To close, push the tab at the top back down which re-hides the nozzle, preserving the rest of the perfume.
The fragrance was Womanity by Thierry Mugler. Mugler’s perfumes are always very distinctive and here so too was the advertising.
Showing the sample to the girls in the office, they all quickly interacted with the product and there was spray enough for each. Having not seen anything like this before I was intrigued and impressed so decided to do a little research. One sample is said to provide “six test sprays”. This is incredibly clever as the brand could effectively penetrate their target audience six times with only one sample; maximizing cost-effectiveness.
Known as the “Flat Spray”, the new perfume sampling technology was first featured in the glossy pages of Canadian Fashion magazine in October 2010.
I really interacted with this execution and believe this method represents the next step in sample advertising. It is reusable, portable and a highly effective method of getting your target audience to engage with your product. Would I buy this perfume? Maybe. Would I go to the shop and try it there because of the sample? Yes.