Social Media in Perfumery: alliance and oppression

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Social Media in Perfumery: alliance and oppression

One of the few jobs the XXIth century has created was the Social Media Manager, it is like the rocket star of many fashion brands. Their mission is so very simple: to built brand's presence into our visual culture.

Perfume brands, in the past, put so much effort into developing great fragrances (recent studies showed that "the scent" weights 90% on consumers' choice to new perfumes) with some of them creating also aesthetically interesting perfume bottles being advertising the least invested dimension on new perfumes. In last decade, however, the perfume industry faced major changes mainly because of the Social Media.

In 2014 Marc Jacobs, one of the most popular fashion brands, launched Divine Decadence, the flanker of the highly successful Decadence. To its debut event Marc Jacobs didn't invited magazines and perfume reviewers as all other brands usually do but, instead, some highly popular Instagram influencers were invited. Yes, the new perfume art critics are not scholars or reporters but these contemporary gods called influencers. Imagine such thing into Classical Music or Modern Sculpture.

Perfume brands saw this rising of Social Media with some caution, in the beginning, but they were rapidly pushed into social networks to stand aside with low-cost perfume retailers. The race for the Instagram stats was somewhat furious in the past years because Chanel, for example, couldn't have less followers than, for example, Notino. It isn't just possible!

This tremendous battle of stats, however, produced one of the most beautiful phenomena in the perfume industry, in my opinion. There was born the social media relationship with perfumery that is a permanent alliance and oppression!

"To date, fragrance brands have largely concentrated on creating visuals and content around the bottle or scent stories, which indicates how difficult the category is to showcase in such a visual medium [as social media]," comments Tribe Dynamics co-founder and president Conor Begley. This statement indicates to me a rising phenomenon within the core of perfume creation: the demand for better and enticing aesthetically-driven products or, in other words, the call for Art or, as Alois Riegl stated, the kunstwollen. Perfumery is, nowadays, the best "art medium" were you can experience this appeal for artistic creation, thanks to social media.

One other way to look at this increase of artistic products in perfumery is the development of perfume art critics and their impact on social media. I just want to picture my point with two examples from the BW post.

"Brands like Dior have succeeded in adapting expensive television ads to shorter formats suitable for video platforms. “Dior has done particularly well for its Sauvage perfume by republishing the original advertisement in a series of shorter clips. The average Dior Sauvage video garnered only 38% organic views, but these videos had 22 times more organic views on average than other Dior videos,” comments L2’s Edelman."

"Given the renewed interest in fragrance creation (that has coincided with the growing interest in niche scents), brands are turning to perfumers to create content for social media. For this year’s international launch of its new women’s fragrance, Mon Guerlain, French brand Guerlain created video content using in-house perfumer Thierry Wasser describing the inspiration behind the creation of the fragrance. The video has been viewed more than 121,000 times on YouTube, and Wasser has featured in several similar videos to promote the fragrance."

This two examples picture the perspectives for the future of perfumery: works of art will be those that have a strong leading concept that develops into all perfume dimensions as le jus, the bottle, the package and the advertising. They will more than perfumes as they create powerful aesthetical experiences together with a captivating storytelling. 

It is also important to quote Argan when he foresaw that avant-garde art movements seek, by their own mutations, anticipate our societies' transformations. 

Yes social media can oppress so many perfumes and brands as they go discretely among social media feeds but the same media can also work as an important ally to promote excellent perfumes. The key is not to have huge budgets to spend on PR and communication, is to produce perfumes that can also be works of art.

José Cândido | July 2019

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Circular Fashion or Eco Fashion? The battle for the this century | August 2019

How soon is too soon to wear makeup? | August 2019

Beauty in Perfumery - Plato's "Hippias Major" | August 2019


References:

 "Fragrance and Social Media". BW Confidential, October 2017 (click here).

"The Tribe Top 10". Tribe Dinamycs, April 2019 (click here).

RIEGL, Alois: Die spätrömische Kunstindustrie nach den Funden in Österreich, 1903.

ARGAN, Giulio Carlo: Arte e Critica d'Arte, 1988.