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April 2008

Guerlain Sniffs a Winner: Using Scent to Sell Product


Guerlain has introduced a new fragrance that will have us smelling like a baby. According to Sylvaine Delacourte, Guerlain's creative director of fragrances, L'Instant Magic is "built around white musk and these notes are very powdery and soft. I am especially fond of these notes because they remind me of my children's scent and soft skin when they were babies."

According to psychologists, scent is a powerful way of linking our thoughts and emotions to memories. Perhaps the smell of a BBQ reminds us of happy times spent as a family. The scent of apple pie is associated with comfort, happiness - and overall well being. Baby scents are powerful in that they take us back to a time of innocence - a time when everything was new and we were being nurtured by someone else. It's a comforting scent, and as adults we're willing to pay top dollar to bring that memory and feeling back again.

Who doesn't remember the scent of Johnson's baby shampoo or powder? Fred Tewell, group product director at Johnson's says that the smell from Johnson's baby powder "became ubiquitous and that's the underpinning of the baby smell in the American psyche." Tewell says that the baby scent is "calming, nurturing, not sharp - and doesn't immediately grab your senses. Instead, it wafts."

Do you think that scent links us back to experiences and memories? What are examples of specific scents that bring you "back" in time? How does the scent make you feel? What are examples of ways in which other companies have used scent to market their products?

Ford Turns to Employees In An Effort To Break Brand Apathy

What do you do if, as VP of an ailing company, you're called to rekindle apathy in an iconic American brand?

If you're Jim Farley, group VP Marketing and Communications for Ford, you turn to your employees. Ford's latest marketing campaign called "Drive One", veers away from traditional marketing and turns back to its roots. People talking to people, in order to revive and engage a brand.

Farley realized that one reason the brand isn't selling so well is that people don't care about it. If they don't care, they won't be engaged, and they won't think of Ford when in the market for a new car. Struggling with the challenge of driving people to dealerships, Ford has asked its 750,000 employees to talk to friends and family about the quality and features of Ford vehicles. In spite of $1.76 billion spent on advertising last year, sales continue to dip.

The campaign will go heavy on TV and print spots which will drive people to the site It will also feature a series of webisodes featuring people expressing surprise reactions at the quality and "coolness" of Ford vehicles. Ford discovered that once consumers were in a car having a positive experience, they would be more likely to purchase a Ford in the future.

Ford has a battle ahead as it struggles to regain its brand sense of "American-ness." In an effort to remind consumers of its reputation as an American icon, Ford is turning to what might be its last resort in an effort to regain market share - the people.

Logo_ford_driveone_whiteWhat lessons can be learned out of this experience?

1) A huge advertising budget is of no value if people are not engaged with your brand

2) When everything else seems to fail, turn to your customers and prospects and give them an experience that leaves them wanting more

3) Appeal to the emotions in an effort to re-engage your brand and you will win people's hearts (and pocketbooks)

4) There are no guarantees in marketing and you can't afford to become complacent about your brand

5) Don't take a brands iconic status for granted - a brand is built on the experiences of the people who buy into it

What do you think about Ford's efforts to regain its iconic status? Where do you think the company went wrong? What would you do in Ford's situation?

Wraps...Schmaps..Just Give Me A Good Old Fashioned Hamburger!!!

180pxburginWhy is it that, in spite of all the hype for nutritional foods in fast food advertising..that I still crave a good old fashioned hamburger?

Recently we took a road trip to attend an out of town funeral. Tradition dictates that we stop at the numerous "truck stops" along the way to grab some dinner and/or a coffee and donut. The stops offer lots of choice in fast food fare and most of the biggest names in fast food are there. Once you enter the stop, you're bombarded with signs advertising the latest and greatest in nutritional food fare - wraps, yogurts, salads, low cal this...low cal that.

In spite of all this choice, why is it that 99% of the time I always seem to walk away with a hamburger and fries? My body would be happier with the salad..but there's something about the taste of a hamburger and fries on the road that's irresistible. Funny thing is...we don't eat a lot of this stuff at home. So what is it about road trips that makes me want to eat junk food?

Here's what I think:

1) The food represents a sort of greasy comfort food - something that reminds me of summertime BBQ's and weekends at the cottage. I want to relive the story and emotions the burger represents

2) The experience of a road trip implies adventure and by eating a greasy burger and fries, I'm reliving a small part of the rebel in me by chowing down on something that isn't normally part of my daily diet. It's as if I'm saying "to heck with all this advertising"...I'm going to eat what I want!

3) A road trip means "away from home" and this implies living by a different set of rules

So...what do you do differently on road trips that you wouldn't normally do at home? Do you follow nutritional guidelines when away..or do you adopt a sense of careless abandon, crank up the tunes, and live life to the fullest?

Chow down everyone!