Thursday, January 28, 2010

Follow Your Nose

A few years back I sat next to Jean Paul Gaultier on a flight from Paris to Athens. Coincidentally we were en route to the same hotel... he invited me to a party he was holding that night and I found my favourite male fragrance... Le Male. Last year Jean Paul created a USB flash drive that perfumes the air with the unmistakable Le Male fragrance as it works. It’s great to see the over-looked sense of smell injecting some excitement into a product which is often bland and sold on functionality alone. And while this was only available as a gift-with-purchase of the fragrance, I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before other makers of technology products move past the tablestakes faster/bigger/cheaper functional benefits and ‘wake up and smell the coffee’ when it comes to the power of scent.

It’s not news that smell is strongly linked to memory, but a recent piece of research has confirmed that it’s particularly useful for enhancing recall of all sorts of brand associations. And of course it’s a key Lovemarks ingredient. The olfactory sense has been making small inroads in the technology arena, with scent-strips being added to Sony cellphones in Japan and Asus’ fragrant laptops (also see my previous post on Smell of Books adding just that to emotionalize e-books), but so far nothing wildly original has made it to the mainstream marketplace. Why don’t Internet hotspots emit a fragrance to show where the signal is strongest – a whiff of wi-fi?

The arts, on the other hand, have thrown themselves into exploring the untapped opportunities of the nose. A ‘scent opera’ premiered at the Guggenheim last year, where music was accompanied by sequences of perfume ‘chords’ rather than singing. And I love designer Hyun Choi’s ‘Flavor of Time’ clock concept which assigns a scent to each hour for a unique new way to tell the time – providing a new contender in the old analogue-vs-digital debate!


Elle Fagan said...

yesssss! Aroma is a big people-helper, and now that we are all happily smoke-free and our sense of smell recovered, it is a fine idea to use fragrance to help us make a great day as we work and play, online or off.

In fact, there are scents that might be made available - ones that help us do our computer work more effectively, I'll bet. Scents that energize, and scents that calm and center us - without many of the side-effects of other helpers. What an exciting concept!

I will be asking my favorite ladies' perfumers to get into this wonderful promotional idea - they might find it works to offer it as a regular product. The idea alone is enough to improve my day!

Thanks again!


Moses Robbins said...

Awesome Post Mr. K, I've long been looking forward to the Smellovision maybe not so much the Smellophone!

Here's the anthem to your post by the way.

Tatiana Maia Lins said...

I loved the idea. But fragrances are very personal. And so, I got also a bit worried to be caught by even more aromas everywhere. An "aroma polution" would be awful, because we'd have no way to scape. It has to very discret.