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Fragrance Connection Through Online Interaction

By: Isaac Lekach
Posted: June 1, 2012, from the June 2012 issue of GCI Magazine.
<em>Selena Gomez</em> fragrance

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A tangential train of thought led me to the marketing plan for the launch of her debut fragrance, which occurred after a scenting session was held with Gomez and a perfumer from Givaudan. Together, Gomez and the perfumer reviewed hundreds of single notes. It wasn’t arranged as a test to see how discerning Gomez’s sense of smell was, but rather, as a way to best find the notes that resonated most with her. It was more “How does this make you feel?” and “What does this make you think of?” and not “What do you think this is?”

This is a proprietary method of Givaudan’s called Kaleidoscope. The results are often inspiring, and can yield unexpected notes that shape the overall bouquet. In our case, the results gave the perfumer clear direction—Gomez likes gourmands—and we left the meeting with a large assortment of compatible notes, including the scent of chocolate. While we could have pared down the remaining notes ourselves to help create the final fragrance, I saw this as a chance to engage Gomez’s fans in the process and get them excited about the upcoming fragrance product from inception rather than just at the launch.

Creating the Charm

Gigantic Parfums built a website for the concept of having Gomez’s fans collaborate in the fragrance’s development through online interaction, complete with an introductory video in which Gomez explained the process of building the fragrance and inviting the public to help narrow down the notes.

We didn’t throw everything up on the website, though. To use a musical analogy, we’d written the melody and sought assistance in shaping the harmonies. We broke down the voting into three different sections—top notes, middle notes and bottom notes—reflecting the different stages the fragrance takes as it evolves on skin. Along with a photo and an explanation for the purpose of including each option, the voters could pick between apple, raspberry and melon for the top notes; purple freesia and pink jasmine for the middle notes; and vanilla and coconut for the bottom notes.

And in addition to being able to help design Gomez’s fragrance, we further incentivized interaction from the voters by giving the first 100,000 participants in the U.S. a free sample of the fragrance before it went to market, as well as selected 10 finalists to visit with Gomez at Givaudan in New York and pick the final fragrance—dubbed Selena Gomez—from the different samples made with the suggested notes.

Interaction for All