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Emotional Packaging

By: Jeff Falk
Posted: May 3, 2007, from the May 2007 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Because the fragrance itself is essentially invisible, the bottle must communicate the emotional content. If it doesn’t, the fragrance is unlikely to be successful.

“If a package is done properly, developed along with the scent and reflects the scent, it can carry the mood of the scent forward,” said Rochelle Bloom, president, The Fragrance Foundation. “The tactile touch of a bottle is what carries that emotion forward.”

Distinction and tactile intrigue is achieved through shape, weight and texture, and new shapes are enhanced by advances in design effects achieved through new technologies. Those distinctions must foremost express the message of the brand, but that has become increasingly difficult to do through bottle design because of the limitations and demands imposed by today’s market—including speed to market issues, the rise of flankers and the declining popularity of poured, rather than sprayed, perfumes.

“When we really had perfume bottles, you were trying to convey the message of the brand through the perfume bottle. Today, very few companies launch with perfume,” said Rosen. “Today, it’s the eau du parfum bottle that becomes the image. It’s harder, because of design limitations, to create a spray bottle. Because the actuator takes up a lot of head room, and it’s not a stopper, it’s a harder thing to design and to create that image.”

Speed to market has been a significant factor in the life of today’s fragrances. Fragrances are launched more quickly with shorter life expectancy, and, according to Rosen, the biggest impact is fragrance flankers. In many instances, according to Annette Green, president emeritus of The Fragrance Foundation, brands use the established brand’s bottle for the flanker, with decoration changes.