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Warwick's temple

By seaxaer Oct 10, 2013 722 Words
Management highlight 6.3
Pong: the final marketing frontier
Rolls-Royce Cars hit the headlines recently when it was revealed that they had developed an essence of new spray to use on their luxurious upholstery after they found out their cars did not smell new enough. Other sellers use similar tricks. There are few people selling houses who have not recognised the trick of percolating coffee when the house is viewed and few stores that have not used the attractive smell of fresh bread. Philosophers from Aristotle to Kant have ranked base smell below the noble senses of seeing, hearing and touching. Yet fragrances are one of the pillars of luxury marketing, with exclusive brands being adored by the initiated. Greed is one of the most distinguished of fragrances, used by Charles Charlie Charles, David Beckham and Brad Pitt; Acqua di Parma Giutti was adored by Sean Connery, Sylvester Stallone, Kim Bassinger and Sophia Loren. Is this obsession an indulgence or does it reflect an insight that few have achieved? Freud proposes an answer. Smell, he says, is a base sense but one that people have evolved to reject intellectually because of its power. Walking on two legs has taken 1,000 different types of smell receptors in our nose away from the centres of odour that obsess four legged creatures. With taste, smell was one of the first senses to evolve - it is how amoebas find food. Old it may be, but neglected it is not. One per cent of our 100,000 genes relate to our smell receptors in the nose while only three genes control colour vision. Our smell receptors are also well connected .From the nose they first go to the limbic system-a part of the brain that drives mood, sexual urges and fear. Signals then travel to the hippocampus, which controls memories. Only then do the signals travel to the frontal lobes of the brain involved in conscious thought. Our 1,000 smell receptors are always working busily but subliminally. One example of this subliminal effect is a range of ‘odourless’ steroids produced by men and women. These can directly affect mood. Unfortunately, while the masculine version cheers up women, the female one irritates men. There is more. A granny smell, taken from the armpits of menopausal women, makes people happy while a mummy smell, taken from new mums, can cure depression. Smell also influences perception. Men’s regard for how attractive women smell without seeing them, corresponds strongly to their perception of their visual attractiveness, while the smell of teenage men makes people angry. Researchers have shown that how people respond to smell can be driven by evolutionary logic. Although women have a stronger sense of smell than men do, they are not so good at identifying attractive guys by smell alone. Instead they are attracted to the smell of men whose immune system least overlaps with theirs and are therefore partners most likely to sire healthy offspring. This handy sensitivity increases when women are ovulating but is, unfortunately, messed up by taking contraceptive pills. Science is also coming to the help of removing smells that no one finds attractive, body odour(BO). We now know that this is caused by Corynebacteria (Coryn), a group of some of the 7,000 bacteria that inhabit all skin. All the bacteria live off the skin’s natural fat-laden secretion but, unfortunately for some, they attract Coryn which is a messy eater that leaves half-digested waste. Quest International, one of the world’s largest fragrance houses, is now working on long-active deodorants that attack Coryn rather than clogging up the sweat glands like most of the €2.5 billion worth of deodorants do. The understanding of the science of odour is now moving out of the realm of the alchemy of exotic fragrances. Aromatic engineering is a rapidly growing business based on pumping designer smells into office and stores to make customers feel happier and spend more money. Roll-Royce was early into using odour to make their cars more desirable. Other researchers are working on odours that will automatically change a driver’s mood to reduce road rage. What other odour could be used in cars? There is growing evidence that humans have a veromonal nasal organ, a sensor that picks up the pheromones that drive animals sex crazy. However, there is little sign that the ultimate aphrodisiac will ever exist.

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