Scent Branding Sweeps the Fragrance Industry - BusinessWeek

by Rachel Gertz

Scent Branding Sweeps the Fragrance Industry - BusinessWeek

So, there’s this thing called ambient fragrance. It’s a nose infiltrating mess meant to be released into public places to spruce up the joint (think Abercrombie & Fitch), all the while titillating your senses. Scent is tied to memory, my friends. It only makes sense that marketing it to the masses would be the next logical, profitable step.

Here’s the issue: These fragrances that we so haphazardly spray on our necks, and into our cars and homes are made by mixing hundreds of trademark ‘secret’ chemicals together to create that uniquely intoxicating fragrances. Chances are, you’ve used at least 10 today. They’re in your cleaning products, make up, shampoo, deodorant, perfume, and even your food.

Many of these chemicals are endocrine disrupters, cancer causing agents that have never been tested in isolation (bets are your GAP perfume has never been tested as a fragrance either). However, because of their trade secret nature, these fragrance chemicals are exempted from our currently pathetic system of cosmetic testing (self regulated by the industries that make them—at best). 

Not only that, but what is the ethical implication of spraying people or their homes with fragrances they never asked for. Anyone who’s ever walked through the Venetian in Vegas can tell you, the trademark lily perfume is disgusting and perverse. I don’t have any idea how many men have developed moobs because of it.

This article explores the concept of spritzing a new chemical perfume called, “L’Eua Verte du Bronx du Sud” into the doorways and communal hangouts of the poverty stricken residing in the South Bronx. The scent is supposed to be reminiscent of cut grass, something I’m assuming isn’t a familiar smell in the concrete jungles of NYC. This particular scent is supposed to be non-toxic, but if you’ve ever wandered past a Bath and Body Works, Body Shop, or Lush, no matter how ‘non-toxic’ its perfumery, the stores just plain stink. 

What’s your take on this? Do you think people (rich or poor) should be exposed to chemical ‘ambient’ scent bombs in the name of social experimentation?

How about for the sake of plain old marketing?

Smells like a steaming pile of shit to me.

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