07 Nov Branding smells
All of a sudden, there is a rush to secure a copyright on any distinct smell from our daily lives, and exclusively use it in conjunction with a branded product or a service. Like the smell of bread in a hot oven at the bakery to be used by a sandwich maker, or the smell of Gouda cheese and the notorious whiff of dirty socks, to be exclusively used by a shoe maker.
So here it is. This is what happened to the most recent aggressive attempts by Paris-based company, Eden Sarl, who tried very hard to get the smell of strawberries exclusively copyrighted for products of soap, stationery, leather goods and clothing.
Initially, EU Trademark agencies refused their earlier applications, so they took it to their regional second-highest courts. They too, rejected Eden Sarl’s application. So what’s all the fuss?
The smell of armpits, dirty laundry, and soiled diapers are all now highly sought-after scents, as companies, pursuing smelly-branding have all lined up, excited for having exclusive rights to aromas which they can use to bring odor to their lifeless products: peachy-smelling-bras or chocolate-smelling-underpants and so on. There are some not so pungent odors, like apples, bananas and oranges, but all the attempts for exclusive use have failed.
The sensory expansions
This brand new frontier is said to be giving a big boost to odorless products. The general idea is that by using smell as an exclusive sensory tickler, now considered by many, a stroke of branding genius, marketers can bring life to their already dead brands. Sounds very sensory, but in reality, it’s time to smell the coffee.
According to the practitioners of these trendy branding jockeys, every corporation is supposed to have their own distinct branded smell. Remember the fumes and the steamy whiffs when you enter a sausage factory, a Laundromat, beauty salon or funeral parlor.
Now just wait for the exclusive and powerful smell of a bank, where every branch smells the same. Perhaps the smell of a fish store, or a realty office with a smell of a rose-garden, with soft music all aimed to hypnotize the customer. What about the smell of a hotel? Should it smell like an airport or the last diesel taxi? The desperate hours of the desperate branding are already here. You not only need to hear and see the collapse, but now you can smell the rat too.
When there is no proper name brand identity, and there is no sophisticated cyber-branding game plan, then there is certain panic to find dumb and dumber things to do and keep the branding circus going in all directions.
According to BBC reports, the EU courts stated “Strawberries do not have just one smell. This means that the different varieties of strawberries produce significantly different smells.” Surely, we now need some wine tasters and keen noses.
On the strawberry issues, the company wanted this aroma exclusively for their product lines, just like the way some companies attempted to claim exclusive corporate colors, which indecently holds no water either and is no longer a winning case, as there are only a few colors and billions of companies and products. Blue is no longer exclusive to IBM, but equally used by ten thousand other computer companies. What worked in the fifties, as an exclusive color idea, is no longer valid in the post-millennium market. Don’t you smell trouble here?
As part of a new craze for smelly-branding, hip brand managers are desperately trying to project a sensory message with an exclusive aroma. Checkbooks are being scented, clothes are pre-perfumed, and cars are wildly sprayed. Now you know why massage oils are scented, and how aromatherapy became so popular.
For perfume companies, this was a normal thing to come out with an exclusive fragrance, and to sell it as an expensive branded perfume or cologne. But now, for branding to rush after the generic smells from the public domain and claim them exclusive for their product lines, is a short lived gimmick of a tricky branding attempt by the feeble few marketers and their nasal clogged minds.
Any brand can develop an original fragrance and use it just like the fashion brands have already successfully done, but to say that the smell of the ocean and sea salt is exclusively copyrighted to a tire company is really having the creative noses buried in merde! Phew, that’s some aroma.
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