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Monday, October 7, 2013

Chasing the Demons of Perfume Marketing: a Case for the Humble Marketeer

Marketing has gained a bad rep among perfume aficionados: "It's all marketing" you hear them say with a dismissive pfft over their shoulder as they consider the tsunami of launches in just the previous year, rhapsodising all the while about the glorious past, about eras when perfumes were supposedly both classier and cheaper to purchase. The truth however is never as simplistic as all that and the demons are less malignant than thought of.

"Now it appears perfume once again stands alone again, not tied to fashion nor an entry point to a new undiscovered world. It simply is" said veteran marketeer Jeffrey Dame the other day, while discussing the rise of prices on perfume brands. He explained how price is a pillar to the marketing of a fragrance and how perfume stands as a luxury, but also aspirational good: "Price is a marketing concept, one of those four key elements drilled into us when I went to university for a marketing degree in the 1970's. "Marketing" a product was a new idea in 1977 and the field of marketing and an actual marketing degree were part of a brave new world which has not quite resulted in a better new world 35 years later. Price is key, high or low, pick your passion. Before the 1970's perfume stood by itself, a creation of the perfume house. The big change in the 1970's with designer fragrances was that perfume provided you with lower-cost access to the world of Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and YSL. If you couldn't afford an Oscar de la Renta dress, you could certainly stretch to purchase a piece of Oscar through his pretty perfume. The fashion was magic, and purchasing a piece of the magic through fragrance a thrill."

via coloribus.com

The status symbol of luxury brands is uncontenstably part and parcel of the high prices. "When we want to denote luxury, we increase the size or we increase the price" perfumer Jean Claude Ellena had told me on a one-to-one, explaining at the time the rationale behind the ginormous bottles introduced for some of the Hermes fragrances, but at the same time clarifying the thinking behind some of the perfume marketing going on across the board.

Some of the prices have become ridiculous, that's true. Even though there are perfumes that are decent enough to ask for very high prices, the rate of price raise is relative to the antagonism between niche key players; everyone is pricing in comparison to others' in the field. As Dame succinctly notes: "18-24 months ago the general price for high end niche was in the $150.00-$190.00 range for a 100 ml [bottle]. Nowdays, heading into holiday 2013 niche prices have risen greatly and a standard going rate is in the $225.00 - $285.00 range. Prices haven't quite doubled in the past two years, but close. This is a general guesstimate, and certainly there are many niche scents still below $200.00, but $250.00 seems to be where the heart of the niche business is". Furthermore, perfumer and niche brand owner Patricia de Nicolaï admits in a Fragrantica interview "...I have to say that some brands really exaggerate with their prices. I don’t want to denounce anyone, but offering a very expensive perfume with a lovely packaging does not always mean that this perfume will be nice." Further amunition in the dissenters' quiver? Not really.

Personally, I value marketing. Maybe it has to do with getting to know a bit of the stuff through, shall we say, personal interactions. Maybe it has to do with me being highly interested in the goings of perfume advertising from a historical point of view. Or maybe it's just that I like to be inquisitive and the devil's advocate. So let me plead a case for marketing.

Marketing doesn't have to be a brain-washing dystopian Big Brother device to work its magic. It's marketing which puts wings on perfume, providing the story which connects with the wearer and consolidates the brand. The smell alone can't really create that bond, not only because it can't be translated the same way for everyone, but also because smell is mute. As perfume maker Serge Lutens once said, "It is potentially a carrier for the imagination". Just think about it: all those romantic stories you've heard about Guerlain or Chanel or Caron etc, the twilight dusk of the "blue hour", l'heure bleue, inspiring Jacques Guerlain to create an enduring classic, Jicky being the nickname of a lover Aimé loved and lost, Mitsouko meaning "mystery" in Japanese (not so!), the Cuir de Russie perfume being inspired by Cossack boots smeared with birch, Tabac Blond an homage to flappers... all fabrications, all marketing. Their creation was much more pedestrian, if we take things factually. But they created a mythical beast which is with us still. Like in Herodotus, even if these things never happened, someone had the wisdom and the cunning to narrate them anyway....

For a product as mystifying, as undecipherable, as steeped in half-truths as perfume, selling it without the story would be akin to trying to sell hot air. The most exquisite smell in the world rests without aim if there isn't a stiring hand to propel it into the finishing line. The most divine creation needs to be communicated and communicated in the right way for the right audience at that. Good marketing works stealthily, convincing us that what we choose is "quality" or at least "a good fit", "value for money", "what we need right now". We consequently feel validated by our choice: smart, in the know, pampered, exhilarated, good about ourselves, happy. It also affords us the luxury of thinking we have free choice: this chesee instead of that cheese, this car instead of that car. But it's already cheese and car, this doesn't change. Does Coca Cola or Apple have good marketing? You bet. So does Chanel, selling not only nice perfume (well, most of the time) but also the unbridled assurance of "good taste".

Furthermore, perfume is an acquired taste. Babies don't grow being appreciative of it. It needs a certain conditioning to learn to appreciate man-made smells as "pleasant", "delicious", "enjoyable", even "life changing". Marketing helps us connect the dots, brings out specific points, making us think about something in the way that best translates the brand. This is especially crucial for artisanal brands, smaller players who have the need for a more truthful, but also highly clever marketing plot to make their presence known to those they'd best connect with and to consolidate that bond. Arguably, this force harnessing might also maim the more creative, more imaginative thinking of the individual. But to quote something I first heard on the 1st season of "Mad Men", itself a study in advertising and early marketing,"People want to be told what to do so badly, they'll listen to anyone". Cynical, but true.
So let's at least validate the marketeers who operate on a scale of imaginative honesty and creative truthfulness. All hail. They deserve as much, high prices be damned.

For those with not as long memories, I had said something along those lines back in 2007 in Lies and Misdemeanors. I had also talked about Perfume Prices back in 2007 too, in Gimmick or Innovation.


43 comments:

  1. Astrid16:27

    Seems like there should be a concurrent rise of the old Francois Coty philosophy: sell lots of items cheaply rather than fewer items more expensively and you'll make the same fortune.

    If the perfume itself is only a small portion of the marketing, we should see an increase in drugstore scents of the same quality in plainer packaging.

    Instead we seem to be seeing an across the board plunge in quality combined with the universal price inflation. Celebuscents are almost as overpriced as Chanel (whose quality has also dipped).

    Have to factor the influence of cartel-style corruption into the process, i.e., major retailers roping government into banning cheaper, quality ingredients to cut lower price producers out.

    Corruption creates its own bubbles, but they always burst eventually.

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  2. One of the reasons I pursued a career in fragrance and beauty is that I saw it as the purest form of marketing. A little oil that smells, a little powder in a tin. All meaningless and worth pennies without a story to create desire.

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  3. Astrid,

    there is a valuable lesson in Coty, however he had a very concrete business model which he applied with the precision of a surgeon, whereas nowadays there are too many people involved and there is more dissent amidst groups rather than within the same person.
    That said, it's true that there is a complicated system of what goes where and how and interests are varied and many.
    Thanks for commenting and glad to see this was enjoyable and thought-provoking! :-)

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  4. Jeffrey,

    excellent point! "Hope in a bottle". :-)

    I suppose people don't want to believe that they can't disassociate their mind and their eyes/ears from what their nose perceives. Many blind tests later, I can claim it's otherwise, but one is always reluctant to admit after the fact...

    The more convinced someone is they're not influenced by the story, the more I sense they don't want to be typecast (valid enough). It's human nature.

    And another thing I have noticed as an avid collector and which I didn't include in the actual article: No matter whether we buy decants/samples etc, in the end the final connection and tangible bond with the product happens only when one upgrades to the bottle (and goes through it, slowly and surely). There is a reason why packaging and design are so important in the industry; it's not a small detail, they communicate a hell of a lot! Agree?

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  5. The smell by itself is only a piece of the final product, albeit the one worn out into the world. Without the aesthetics of the bottle and carton design; and the feel of the bottle in your hand any the connection with the originator and the story it's just not complete.

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  6. Now I am not a "bottle person" but ... if one of my favourite Guerlains was sold in a old plain chemist like bottle - I have to confess - some of the magic would be lost . Not all of it Helg but some! LOL
    Marketing also tells us what is out there to buy and in my case - being in Australia - what I would love to get my paws on but it does not ship to my shores - frustrating! Oooo go on line?? LOL
    Like most things in life , marketing is not all good or bad and as for price ..... the economy and what you can afford will drive the price! Clinique has always sold their yellow moisturizer so $$ here but ... they have hacked off about $20 !! Unheard of here - sales were SLOW as people are tightening their belts in Australia and going online to buy cosmetics so something had to give! Would love to know if that discounting did the trick for Clinique sales in Oz ! Our retailers are really feeling it !

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  7. Ellen05:56

    Interesting comments. I no longer care about the bottle, the box, or the hype. And I don't really care about the story. I do care, passionately, about the juice, and it makes me really angry that those other things drive the price of the juice beyond what a reasonable person can and perhaps should afford. To be teased and then have to forgo the pleasure of purchase because the price is unseemly is very sad. I remember someone remarking that just because something is expensive doesn't mean that that something is good or valuable.The same can truly be said for many fragrances and their artificially inflated prices.

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  8. Chris06:01

    Hi Elena, I've enjoyed reading your entertaining and informative blog for a long time now. First-time commenter. It was after reading your insightful reviews that I fell in love with Le Labo--incidentally, partly because of the plain packaging and the difficulty of obtaining the city exclusives. I suppose a passion for perfume can be contagious?

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  9. Well put and valid points. Blind tests show that smell is mute indeed. "A little oil that smells, a little powder in a tin. All meaningless and worth pennies without a story to create desire." An invisible aroma molecules require so much imagination and sensory interactivity (and aesthetic paradigm)to be appreciated. But that's why this process creates the feeling of being awakened, of discovering hidden parts of ourselves.

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  10. annemariec09:58

    Such an interesting discussion. Perfume marketing - any marketing - can be very frustrating and silly but also fascinating and fun. If you think you can resist you are not being honest with yourself, in my opinion. Atelier has my favourite marketing style. I love those stories that go with the perfumes. And who can resist vintage perfume ads? They can just be stunning. Lanvin, Coty, Caron and Dior are my faves there, especially Lanvin.

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  11. Effective and enduring marketing campaigns result from the right blend of art and science, much like success in perfumery. Ridiculous prices, which bear no relation to cost of production, marketing, distribution or demand, are simply cold, hard greed. One can laud marketing artistry without condoning, and certainly without underwriting gluttonous profit margins. The 1% is a very small market. The "aspirational" market, with the means to pay exhorbitant prices, if only occasionally, is dwindling. The result among perfumistas seems to be the rapid increase in sharing splits.

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  12. patriciaC13:40

    I have to agree with Ellen's comment. I have to love the scent first, the rest is all icing on the cake.However i would hate if my favorite perfume were in one of those hidiouse niki manaj bottles yikes! As for price,well i have my limit and the guilt factor plays into my decision making.Their is too much phsychology being used in advertizing/marketing and it has been that way since the radio days.

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  13. for years marketing focuses on the ''face'' instead of the 'narrative', the 'story'. that is why people hate marketing. i hope we will see a shift from that as I am tired of seeing celebrities endorsing products. even the beautiful cate blanchett (now face of armani si)an evocative or original story, a great bottle and a great smell=that smells of success

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  14. Hey there,
    I love the marketing and am often a sucker for the story, the beautiful advertising and the aspirational drivers built in. Every now and then I buy a bottle that is beautiful, and happens to have fragrance in it, just for the bottle.
    On the flip side I really love a lot of Indie Perfumers who mix some of the most incredible frags in the world and put them in rubbish bottles, so I feel no guilt.
    There are some companies lately that I feel are extracting the urine. They must be having a laugh at us.
    Portia xx

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  15. Kuromi -

    "Ridiculous prices, which bear no relation to cost of production, marketing, distribution or demand, are simply cold, hard greed."

    Not to discount entirely price gouging, but in my experience high prices for prestige and niche fragrances are less about a cash grab and are more a function of competitive price positioning of the brand. The western perfume world is a tiny circle of companies, brands and people - New York, Paris, scatterings in Italy, a handful in the UK and Germany. Everyone knows each other, and all the brands exhibit at the same niche trade shows, and everyone compares prices to each other. No one wants to be perceived as a lessor-quality brand and so they all chase each other to the top. The resulting dis-function can instead lead to lower profits for the brand - not more.

    J

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  16. J,

    that's my experience as well. When a decant has finished, I feel like I haven't really got to know a product. Whereas when I have a bottle in my hand I feel like I experience "the whole package". That said, many companies do charge at levels where this is getting rarer than it used to.

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  17. M,

    you added the right thing: the information about something new and how to manage to be connected when in an out of the epicentre place, market wise.
    I think marketing (and advertising as one of its pillars) has a huge role into informing the public. When it's good, it helps open up horizons.
    And yes, I suppose antagonism and the crisis has wisened up marketing teams at least in some respects, in the beauty business (alas, not perfume!). Good point!!

    Hope you're feeling much much better right now and that this whole bad experience has been past you! Many wishes for a complete recovery. :-)

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  18. Jeffrey,

    So true about unintended consequences :)

    Some brilliant perfumers, like Patricia de Nicolai, give us cause to be hopeful. And I do own a full bottle of Sacreblue!

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  19. Ellen,

    I find myself halfway agreeing with you and halfway disagreeing. You don't need me to explain the agreeing part, so cutting to the chase to the disagreeing part: but how do you streamline what to sample if you do not pay attention to the story?
    With so many releases, one has to prioritise, if only because of lack of skin real estate, so there needs to be something to entice us to sample and that can only be...the story? Niche lines have thrived on "story" and "concept", as far as I have witnessed.
    I do agree that bottle, packaging and ads are secondary to the juice of course. But the incentive to try out needs to be there in the first place. Otherwise how wade through hundreds of releases? One can't try everything!

    What do you think? Please elaborate if you need to, I'm genuinely interested.

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  20. Chris,

    welcome and so glad you found the site enjoyable!

    Perfume love can certainly be contagious, hehehe, so very happy you have fallen into the marmite with the mysterious elixir. :-)

    Now, on to Le Labo cachet: I think they're doing something which works to their advantage even though it passingly seems crazy: having things exclusive geographically drives up desire (hey, it worked for Lutens!) and on top of that they have this policy of "expiry date" on the bottles, which seems totally bogus on first sight, but come to think of it, they do have a point (most things do deteriorate with the passage of time). In a way they incite us to refill! (ergo use up the fragrance). And the fact that the bottles are so urban and utilitarian looking reinforces the impression of "hip".
    It's a clever ploy and obviously it has worked for them, even though I'm not crazy about all their scents I have to give them that.

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  21. Idomeneus,

    you put it so poetically and succinctly yourself that anything additional from me would be totally redundant. Thank you!

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  22. AMC,

    as you say, we're reluctant to admit that we're inflenced by marketing. But we are, because to be ignited into searching to seek things out to sample them is already a first triumph for marketing; they have created intrigue.
    Now of course there's successful marketing and unsuccessful marketing. That goes without saying.

    The vintage ads are so very covetable in my opinion for two main reasons: 1) distance from the age they circulated makes them look more classy and glamorous, because man (woman) is a past-idolizing beast (true in all civilizations and all times) 2) they adhered to some standards of propriety which have been abandonded (it seems, sometimes) nowadays (when nude, nude, nude is driving the ads non stop).

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  23. Kuromi,

    like you say, there needs to be the right blend.

    Personally I think the 1% is not exactly where they're at. They're building a segment and then launching a lower diffusion line (like in couture with pret-a-porter and diffusion lines), or they thrive on selling smaller sizes and discovery sets later on. There are many ways to build on the rep given by an aspirational luxe status, I suppose.

    I see Jeffrey has answered with much more realistic info on exactly how and why this happens with perfume prices. Interesting, to say the least!

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  24. Patricia,

    right, I just want to know how one decides on what to sample out of all the available choices. One has to start somewhere, so how do you choose?

    HA! on the NM bottles, they're indeed an icon of the modern kitsch phenomenon and should be collected with all the requisite awe for their hideousness.

    Funny, you bring a most interesting angle into this: psychology. I think marketing utilizes a lot of hard, solid psychology and indeed has been doing it from time immemorial (if we consider marketing what was going on in the older days where the science wasn't evolved into a specific university field).

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  25. leinti nti,

    excellent point!!
    I just wish they abandonded celebrities altogether since their endorsement means nothing. We know from slips here and there (and via common logic) they don't use what they advertise, so it's all a silly ploy.
    Story, though, story is all powerful....

    :)

    Hope you're very well and creatively busy! (Need to check you venue, have been so busy and burneded myself lately).

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  26. Darling Portia,

    you say it very well and very to the point. There's something for everyone and sometimes we're diverse creatures. The guilt element is a very interesting one; and the rewarding incentive to those who labour out of love, too, no? (I know I do want to reward genuine love for the subject instead of million-dollar multinationals)

    When the fusion between perfume-story-packaging-image clicks, we have immortal classics. ;-)

    As to cynicals extracting the urine, ah...perfume is the new black and everyone is trying to make it in. I suppose... ;-/

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  27. Jeffrey,

    most interesting and of course I know we had discussed something along those lines.
    The competition is really among a tiny world and the audience is also a very small one, but with the potential to grow. The question is, will this positioning help it grow or will it dwindle, especially as seeing the crisis is an ongoing fate of free market capitalism as we are witnessing it for the last 20 years at least? (unemployment is growing and growing and doesn't show any sign of stopping).

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  28. Ellen16:57

    While it is true that certain advertising campaigns create associations, I find that I am much more interested in reading reviews of real people who have tried the fragrance, rather than basing my decision on a 'story" which I know has been developed expressly for the purpose of capturing my dollars. I also pay great attention to the notes of the fragrances as well. I find your reviews and the inclusion of other scents in those reviews to be much more of value to me. Admittedly, you often have a "story" of your own, but then that story is not for the purpose of persuading people to buy a product. If we look at what has the larger market shares, these are not perfumes that cost $200+. Of course the industry looks at itself and what others are doing, but this really is greed, no more, no less. I remember when I was much younger that there was a perfume advertised as one of the most expensive in the world(this was before the days of decants and samples), and when I finally got a sniff, I was so unbelievably disappointed. I go back to what I said initially, just because it is expensive doesn't mean that its good or good on me. On the other hand, there are three perfumes, which I have sampled which are truly beautiful and totally beyond my reach to purchase. I wish that weren't so.
    Please keep on reviewing the way you have. I'm so much more interested in what you have to say rather than some face on a magazine or some drivel an advertiser has written.

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  29. Miss Heliotrope02:15

    It is hard, no matter what we tell ourselves, to separate the marketing from the scent. If it works, it tells us a story we want to believe, and which we can feel tells us something about our own tastes. If it fails, we feel not let down, but sometimes dirty - like we've been part of something a little nasty.

    I think, when people get so angry at marketing, it's bc in some ways we want to believe it, and when we can't, or the obviousness of their story-telling is apparent, one is let down. But we tell ourselves that it isnt marketing, so when we cant help but see it is - in some ways, putting perfume in crap old bottles is marketing, just upside down from the mainstream: like the sort of person who claims not to be a snob, but who gives greater value to sport (which I love) & rock (does it still exist?) music over the opera or poetry, rather than seeing them as equal.

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  30. patriciaC13:14

    You and Jeffery and Portia and other are how i choose what i want to sample and then buy.So you should be making a fortune because i know i'm not alone.Total dissatisfaction with the department store offerings lead me to your blogs and websites and forums.I used to love perfume but after years of the same smells i took to the internet.I just wanted to read what else was out their and what it smells like.I love perfume now more than i ever did-thank you very much! As for the NM bottles who knows whats going to be a collectable or a lauphing stock in the future.

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  31. Ellen,

    as you wisely say, I too indulge in a "story" of my own :-) Thank you for the vote of confidence, as indeed there is no ulterior motive behind my own "story" contrary to the advertisers' drivel, as you put it.

    Perhaps you're referring to Joy by Jean Patou? This is has an interesting story behind the tag line: in French it's "le parfum le plus cher du monde" which means both "the costliest perfume in the world" but also -and I think most importantly and more fittingly- "the most cherished/precious perfume in the world" . It loses something in the translation, eh?
    Having said that, Joy hasn't been the perfume to make go amok either, so you're not alone. ;-)

    And as to continuing, well, thank you very much, and I will try to do so. Being re-imbursed for it would be nice, nevertheless. :-D

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  32. MH,

    as always very salient points! Thanks for sharing your point of view.

    I suppose what you pinpoint as being "let down" and felling "part of something nasty" is the best psychological explanation of the whole phenomenon I have heard so far. Brava!

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  33. Patricia,

    thank you for the kind words and oh, if only we did make loads of money for pursuing what we love and do it how we believe should be done. But alas, it isn't so.
    It does prove however that there is an audience who has been exhausted by being lied to and manipulated and would appreciate a more realistic and at select instances less cynical aproach to perfume things...for that, I am psyched that continuing to write is not a lost cause.
    Thanks for following and for participating in forming this circle of trust
    *LOL, "circle of trust" has a funny reference, just realized!*

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  34. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  35. My job is marketing (in finance) and probably because it I look at things through the marketing focus. So it seems to me that some of independent brands won´t attracting experienced/challenging customers through quality of product already.
    They do marketing to be ranked to the mainstream (and wide distribution chanels) and maximize profit. They have built a name in the niche segment of demanding customers, but there isn´t space for growth already, the customers base is small.
    The next step is the shelf in Sephora and/or Douglas. Then it happens that not only the communication (stories of products) are corny. It relate with phenomenon that in classic product line are new scents - simply, nothing-talking, average quality, average face...
    Higher costs for product listing and printing leaflets and posters and lot of testers and free-samples, but the price of product for customer still the same ... where to cut costs? The quality of raw materials or technology, accelerate development, need to churn new products for the pop-market... The brand bears status "art perfumery" still, but its production is similar to things from Givaudan for sportswear brands.
    How different between Andy Tauer´s way, he create all the year his scents with unstopped communication with their fans...and hop-on scent with the funny theatrical visual with barbed wire and signs of blood named after german metropolis (sorry for my connotation, but wire blood germany not good idea...and isn´t about Berlin wall - I am from East Europe, I have sense for it, trust me)
    (not only) these two creators are from the other departments suddenly and I have suffered betrayal and lost of confidence.
    (sorry for my eng, i hope you understand)
    Romana

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  36. My job is marketing (in finance) and probably because it I look at things through the marketing focus. So it seems to me that some of independent brands won´t attracting experienced/challenging customers through quality of product already.
    They do marketing to be ranked to the mainstream (and wide distribution chanels) and maximize profit. They have built a name in the niche segment of demanding customers, but there isn´t space for growth already, the customers base is small.
    The next step is the shelf in Sephora and/or Douglas. Then it happens that not only the communication (stories of products) are corny. It relate with phenomenon that in classic product line are new scents - simply, nothing-talking, average quality, average face...
    Higher costs for product listing and printing leaflets and posters and lot of testers and free-samples, but the price of product for customer still the same ... where to cut costs? The quality of raw materials or technology, accelerate development, need to churn new products for the pop-market... The brand bears status "art perfumery" still, but its production is similar to things from Givaudan for sportswear brands.
    How different between Andy Tauer´s way, he create all the year his scents with unstopped communication with their fans...and hop-on scent with the funny theatrical visual with barbed wire and signs of blood named after german metropolis (sorry for my connotation, but wire blood germany not good idea...and isn´t about Berlin wall - I am from East Europe, I have sense for it, trust me)
    (not only) these two creators are from the other departments suddenly and I have suffered betrayal and lost of confidence.
    (sorry for my eng, i hope you understand)

    Romana, Prague

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  37. I think that buying a perfume as a way to get a taste of haute couture that you will never afford is extremely sad. Not the reason I buy perfume AT ALL even though I can't afford the haute couture.

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  38. Maria10:00

    This is all true, but what then would you make of a market failure? E.g., when you really hate the bottle and packaging and are clueless to what the "story" is, but you still love the smell. (My exact feelings to Eau des merveilles and Tom Ford private blend line when I first met them, so I'm not making up the situation. I tried them on a friend's advice.)

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  39. Romana,

    thanks for commenting and no, your English isn't bad, your gist came through very well.

    I agree with what you say and with the examples you set. What can I say? The realm of the mid-range and luxury range are for the most part aspiring buyers so the marketing does have elements heavily influenced by that. There is disillusionment in having someone in the business say it out loud (and I agree that Andy does communicate a lot with his fans and creates things which are in accordance to both his taste and the fans' taste and that's a unique advantage). Still, it's all a matter of informed choice and of choosing what ultimately pleases you, even if it means putting a $ or two in the pockets of a giant conglomerate.
    As to barbed wire, I'm not sure to which perfume you're referring, I couldn't instantly recall it (though I agree it's not a perfect reference!): care to say it or hint it at least?

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  40. Ramon,

    obviously the readership here is a very small segmentation of the perfume buying public, but I assure you there are people who buy a perfume to partake of the dream of a designer "item" in their possession. Not us, but there are people who do that.
    In times of crisis, it's called "the lipstick phenomenon" (can't afford trendy clothes by hip designers, so I splurge on a lipstick instead).

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  41. Maria,

    thanks for commenting, but I don't really understand what you mean: market failure though it smells good to you and you want to buy it? Market failure is something that doesn't sell well enough, irrespective of how it smells or looks. You mean marketing failure perhaps? (It's not marketed in an appealing way?)

    I do sympathize with not liking the presentation of something but liking the scent of it.

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  42. Maria05:33

    Yes, sorry for that stupid mistake. I did mean 'marketing failure'. Though now I'm not sure if it is a right term for what I described - a strong aversion to presentation of goods on potential client's side.

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  43. Maria,

    no need to apologize. I might have been a bit harsh in conveying my confusion, sorry.
    Yes, strong dislike of presentation vs. contents is a bit of a problem for the buyer. But ultimately it all counts on what one puts more importance on.

    Thanks for clarifying and for reading!

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