History of Fragrance: Magic in a Bottle

What does Luxury Smell Like?

The marketing of  a fragrance is different than anything else in the luxury category. The unique history of luxury fragrances begins historically in ancient times, with the Egyptians being the first inventors. Just to be specific, a little history is below for those of you who are Wikipedia fans:

“Knowledge of something perfumery came to Europe as early as the 14th century due partially to Arabic influences and knowledge. But it was the Hungarians who ultimately introduced the first modern perfume. The first modern perfume, made of scented oils blended in an alcohol solution, was made in 1370 at the command of Queen Elizabeth of Hungary and was known throughout Europe as Hungary Water. The art of perfumery prospered in Renaissance Italy, and in the 16th century, Italian refinements were taken to France by Catherine de’ Medici‘s personal perfumer, Rene le FlorentinFrance quickly became the European center of perfume and cosmetic manufacture. Cultivation of flowers for their perfume essence, which had begun in the 14th century, grew into a major industry in the south of France.”

French Luxury fragrance are copied  the world over but the “essence” of this industry is distinctly French in its origins.  If it weren’t for Coco Chanel, the world of modern perfume would not be what it is today.  The idea of  a Branded fragrance came from Coco herself, who in the 1920s began the journey into the diversification of her already established brand into jewelry, fragrance, and you know the rest.  Marketing fragrance is dreamlike or aspirational and usually associated with a lifestyle or person.  Marilyn Monroe, in her introduction of Chanel No. 5  and  Natalie Portman continues with both the House of Dior and Chanel.  She plays two distinctly different characters, two modern girls.   Actually,  we’re “voyeurs”  looking into their unique and mysterious  “faux lives” through the beautiful editorial, film, photos and objects that surround them.  Hollywood has nothing on a fragrance campaign these days.  The fantasy life is so complete in its details that we’re totally transported to this fragrant and magical world in an instant. In fact, the fragrance commercial is really like a romance film: there’s a girl, a guy, a romantic moment, a beautiful setting, and you, the audience or “the voyeurs”.  The art of  filling in the blanks between is what this campaign is all about.  Selling a subtext is not easy but the fragrance content story is doing just that.  Oh, how lovely it would be if our lives were so simple, solved with just a splash of perfume.  In a word, this is luxury  in itself.  Its  a rare glimpse into what is possible, what we can dream about  even  just for a moment.  The power of the sense of smell has the ability to transport us to somewhere we might wish to go.  And there are many places you can take that journey.  Its  the Magic in a bottle.  That is what Luxury smells like.  But its more, than that.  Its memories, moments, people, places and things and  the story of how connect to it.  That is the heart and soul of a great fragrance campaign.

Editor’s note:  In fact, all great luxury campaigns area about a history and connection to an experience or memory and a story.  Many companies aspire to this sort of brand extension and we’ll highlight them in this series on the “ART OF THE FRAGRANCE CAMPAIGN” this summer.

We invite those of you who have a favorite fragrance, memory or comment, to join in.