Monday, February 26, 2007

Oscar Gets Real?

The Academy Awards made its big green statement last night. According to the Oscar Web site, producers sought out “supplies and services with a sensibility toward reducing the threats we face from global warming, species extinction, deforestation, toxic waste and hazardous chemicals in our water and food.” Luxury hybrid cars were among the solutions, as observed by Lisa LaMotta at the Fast Company blog, and Pierce Mattie posted on the subject of the green pre-Oscar party at his luxury lifestyle blog. It is not breaking news that here in the beauty industry many brand owners want to green up their lines and businesses or develop natural or organic products. GCI will host a conversation on the subject in a Webinar series beginning March 6, moderated by Tina Hedges and Beth Ann Catalano of What are your thoughts on the current green craze? Is it ready for its close-up? Tell us about your Oscar-worthy green efforts.

Speaking of the Oscars, Dove debuted a new commercial during the presentation. Grey’s Anatomy star Sara Ramirez introduced the winning customer-created spot for Dove’s new Cream Oil Body Wash featuring the ad’s creator singing in the shower. The real beauty sings into her hairbrush/microphone and declares that her time in the shower is the only time she has to herself. Now who among us can’t relate to that? Who has a real beauty story to share? Where should this new-found respect for real beauty turn its attention next?

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Big Surprises

Scanning around some of my favorite blogs today, I found a few things to share. Seth Godin, author of Small is the New Big: and 183 Other Riffs, Rants, and Remarkable Business Ideas, has some brief but interesting thoughts about surprising your customers. Roger von Oech, author, inventor and consultant, writes a follow up to his comments on the latest Real Beauty campaign from Dove. His original post was “Giant Beautiful Naked Older Women in Public,” about the Dove campaign “Beauty Knows No Age,” that Roger wrote after seeing a massive billboard for the campaign while in Berlin. There’s a lesson in the relating of the story as much as there is a lesson in the campaign. Bruce Nussbaum over at Nussbaum on Design for was looking for better ways for JetBlue to compensate all those people who sat for 8 hours on a plane during bad weather – and who isn’t? That was an unnecessary mess for which I don’t think there can ever be enough of the right kind of compensation. You can share your thoughts here or over at Nussbaum’s blog. What is the cost to commerce when business travelers are forever waiting in airports for planes that are delayed or cancelled? The answer, however huge, would not be surprising.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Burn Lavender

We’re not talking about candles or incense here. Back in January, KUMHO Tire USA introduced the world’s first fragranced automobile tire. The story has made the rounds of the fragrance and auto blogs, and this morning CNN's Ali Velshi got hold of it for his business news. But what's the real story here? Targeted at female consumers (no, really) driving sedans such as Honda’s Accord and Toyota’s Camry, the company is selling its DX aroma tire to build brand awareness and highlight its tire expertise. Instead of the smell of “black rubber,” tires will now release the scent of lavender through the use of heat-resistant oils. Neroli and jasmine versions will also be available. The world just keeps getting better, and better smelling. More importantly, here is an interesting example of a brand reaching outside its normal confines to create a point of difference and call attention to its product expertise. Hmmmm. If a company made tires that smelled like hot fudge, I might just buy a set for my car.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Death by Launch Fatigue

I am a big fan of fine fragrance, as I attempted to establish in an earlier post, but I can’t get even close to checking out every new launch. With hundreds of fragrances introduced every year, I don’t know who can. Still, it would be fun to try.

There’s a lot of talk lately in the industry about just this subject, the number and quality of fragrances brought to market, including the following snippet from an interview with Symrise perfumer Maurice Roucel that appeared in a recent edition of the Perfumer & Flavorist magazine e-newsletter, P&Fnow:

There appears to be general agreement within the fine fragrance world that there are simply too many launches. And for every launch comes consumer tests which are a serious financial burden, especially considering the limited amount of truly successful scents. This fragrance by committee approach, said Roucel, has turned fragrance into a commodity. “Every year you have 300-400 new perfume challenges,” said Roucel. “That’s a huge cemetery.” In the end, Roucel noted, a very small percentage of successful scents are financing the many unsuccessful launches each year, a system that is simply not working. As he put it, “It is possible we are going nowhere.”

So, what’s the solution? More manageably, what are the choices fragrance companies should consider now to breathe new life into their launches? With an ever-growing number of companies marketing scents, what will it take for a new fragrance to stand out and succeed? Your comments could change the course of an entire industry. Don't be shy!