Friday, July 6, 2007

Say cheese

No one believes in the power of the senses more than I do. Over the years I have suggested to many brands that they should consider making a soundtrack or developing a scent. This offering from Stilton Cheese, however, tests my belief in the power of smell to its limits. Last year, the Stilton Cheese Makers Association commissioned the creation of Eau de Stilton. They claimed that, “Blue Stilton cheese has a very distinctive mellow aroma and our perfumier was able to capture the key essence of that scent and recreate it in what is an unusual but highly wearable perfume that we are very proud to put our name to". These are also the people who brought us Stilton ice cream, so I am on the look-out for the sweet sound of Stilton ripening for my iPod! (Not!)


Susan956 said...

LOL I had to laugh... I had this dual vision of a Stilton lover (indeed any lover of an item running for an 'eau de...') throwing up hands in excitement and a voice saying..darling..come here and exfoliate over my spaghetti. :-)

I dropped the first one of these two on Consul's blog the other day. Interesting examples of scratch and sniff advertising efforts:

* In June, 1977, the Rolls-Royce Motor Car Company introduced a campaign entitled "This, In Essence, Is Rolls Royce." Apparantly, the company's executives hired scientists to analyze the smell inside a Rolls. they came up with a scent strip that was supposed to smell like leather upholstery.

* In 1989, BEI Defense Systems ran a Scratch 'n' Sniff ad for its Hydra 70 weapons system in The Armed Forces Journal. It pictured two battling helicopters; when scratched, it gave off the smell of cordite, the odor left in the air after a rocket explosion.

Piotr Jakubowski said...

Recently I've been watching Martin Lindstrom's video blog and have also bought his book, Brandsense. He is also a firm believer in the power of the senses. His main example is Singapore Airlines. Their aircraft is sprayed with a certain kind of scent that make people comfortable and, after a while, relate that scent to Singapore Airlines. And with 17 straight years of top-notch service, who can blame them. Every single time I fly SQ, the service received, even in coach, is immaculate. And when I speak to others, I hold SQ in very high regard.

As for Blue Cheese. It's quite interesting that they would develope a perfume with that scent. I really hope its not used for personal reasons, but I could see it used in a restaurant or a place which specializes in cheeses. By placing out some potpourri with this scent, people might be enticed to come in by the strong and fresh smell. As far as I know, many stores have already used such a strategy.

Two of the most creative print ads I have seen were playing off scent. The Westin Hotels had a print ad in Wired magazine last year, presenting a full page covered in tea leaves, and one of those perfume tabs with a white green tea scent. Apparently the rooms are supposed to smell of that, and with a very refreshing scent, I'm not surprised this people would be sold for this. The second one I picked up a few days ago and was a full-pager for Canadian Tourism in New York magazine (I think). An image of a person in a polar expedition bus with a polar bear on the other side of the glass. There was a scratch and sniff square by the polar bear's nose and the copy underneath read something like "Imagine what a bear's breath smells like". So curiosity killed the cat and I scratched it. Lo and behold it smelled like mint. Probably not the smell of a polar bear's breath, but it caught my attention!

Susan956 said...

In terms of senses and inputs, posing Zen questions can be useful and has been an exercise I've offered on and off in the past with writing students.

The questions can be framed in different ways however, in relation to the Stilton one could ask:

What is the colour of the taste of Stilton? (variant on just asking what the colour is)

What is the sound of Stilton? As it is cut? As you taste it on your tongue?


What sound does Stilton make? (As it ages...and so on)


What is the sound of Stilton as it touches your taste buds?

How does Stilton feel when your fingertips touch it?

If Stilton could offer you wisdom, what would it express?

Responses to these can then lead to choice of music and can make the suggestion of music have better 'sense'. Sometimes manufacturers don't see the various sensory possibilities that the public or consumers may hold about their product. When they are led to see they can be delighted (tho some may say What tha..)

These exercises can be useful at executive level also. One adds that there are different techniques for value adding to the Zen question experience.

But a girl can't give all her secrets away at once can she? :)

Kempton said...

Hello Kevin,

I think the Eau de Stilton might have worked well as a one shot (and brief at that) marketing tactic that gets us (and the media) to talk about the cheese for a little while. But in light of your July 3rd "The authenticity challenge" entry, I submit that the tactic of claiming a chemical induced scene can be anywhere close to the smell of the cheese itself (i.e. authentic) is an insult to the famous cheese, and it stinks! (smile)

IMHO, the earlier the Stilton Cheese Makers Association get rid of the Eau de Stilton, the better it is for the long run. Instead of "very proud to put our name to", I think Stilton should step back and reexam if their short term attention grabbing tactics fits into the long term brand image.

Just my 2 cents and I know my comments are crappy and crappie sometimes. (smile)

Best Regards,

P.S. The BBC has a 2006 piece about the scene (with video)

P.P.S. Apple's ads are famous for making people who bought their stuff feel great (OK, I am one of those sucker). And I am betting my penny that the publicity of Eau de Stilton makes the Stilton Cheese lovers look exactly like idiots and asking themselves, "What was that?". I am surprised they didn't have a "New Coke" vs "Classic Coke" moment where the customers rebel to kill of the scent. May be they were too nice?

Dr Sue said...

piotr.. I was amused...not the diet..unless of course the bear has been induced to brush and use mouthwash :)

I think SQ's idea excellent with the sole caveat that some with particularly sensitive noses may actually be turned off. I have a nose like a bloodhound and certainly scents cab lead me to feel very nauseous. But others...hmyummmmm

Dr Sue said...

I thought..the Pied Piper of Hamlyn scent... :) No need to play an alluring tune on a pipe..just one spray and you're good to go.. :)