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Live From New York: State of the Fragrance Industry

By: Nancy Jeffries
Posted: January 10, 2008, from the January 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Petrakis added, “Neutrogena is a product that does what is says it does. [It] is a simple and very well-edited brand.” She stressed education, the power of the print media and delivering the healthy skin care message. “Johnson & Johnson has been very successful with beauty, for example Neutrogena and Aveeno. The brand’s dedication to finding medical solutions definitely translates to beauty products,” said Petrakis, adding that a clear understanding of the beauty business and being close to trends help guide the brand’s business.

Virtual Scents at Hearst Tower
On Oct. 30, The Fragrance Foundation’s Leadership and Innovation Board welcomed guests and panelists to a Virtual Scents presentation at New York City’s Hearst Tower. The program focused on ways the Internet and nontraditional online media can be used to promote and sell fragrances. Terry Molnar, executive director, Sense of Smell Institute, acknowledged the event’s sponsors—Arcade Marketing, CosmoGirl magazine and Custom Essence—and introduced Mary Manning, president, Manning Associates, who assembled the panel of experts for the discussion.

Kristine Welker, vice president and publisher, CosmoGirl magazine, set the stage for the evening’s discussion, citing the innovation, inspiration and imagination that were key to the publication’s founding eight years ago and integral to the evening’s theme. Panelists included Amy Gibby, president, The eCrush Network, an online social networking site for teens; Debra Butler, vice president, Creative Marketing Studio, Firmenich North America; Drew Stein, CEO, Involve, formerly Infinite Vision Media, who introduced “Second Life” as a virtual reality concept with fragrance application potential; and Steve Roberts, CEO, ShopText, a new concept in cell phone text messaging that allows consumers to text in their purchase choices.

Butler led the audience through the virtual scent world created by Firmenich.

“Os.Moz, the Perfume Island,” said Butler, “is the first Perfume Island in Second Life that enables you to fulfill your fragrance fantasies.” In a demonstration of the site, she showed how the virtual island is a place where fragrance conversations may be hosted within a virtual community where fragrance lovers can escape through the garden, experience the fragrance bar and receive detailed olfactive information in a global community. The site, which operates in both English and French, seeks to facilitate interaction among participants. “For Firmenich, it’s about hosting the passionate conversation of fragrance and utilizing options for raising awareness through a variety of online alternative approaches,” said Butler. “Panelists agreed there is new potential for participatory activity via alternative media that may ultimately strengthen brands, enhance knowledge and increase communication.”