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Scents and Sensibility

I found myself posting on Facebook last night in response to the deluge of arty-farty perfume ads that pervade our TV viewing at this time of year. Look beyond the obvious glamour and artiness and you have to wonder about some of them: “What the hell were they thinking?”

There is one, in particular that has caught my attention, but for all the wrong reasons, I suspect. I’m afraid I can’t say what it was an advert for, not because I don’t want to name the product , but simply because I don’t know. Adverts tend to leave me apathetic* or bemused, in this case, the latter.

So I will just have to describe it. Here’s how it went:

Here comes the obligatory stylish and beautiful woman, swooshing and sashaying about an elegantly expensive set, plush and all warmly aglow in soft lighting. Then comes a touch of danger in the form of a leopard, which she fearlessly strokes while it licks its chops (though I might have imagined that last bit). She sashays some more before draping herself seductively on a couch for a nap, just in case you were in any doubt that sex was being hinted at here. All this is accompanied by the beautiful strains of… the Lacrimosa** from Mozart’s Requiem!?! Did they intend the message to be “It’ll all end in tears”, do you supppose? I could see why they neglected to cut back to an astonished leopard watching its lunch meekly lie down on that couch.

**Latin for “weeping”

I should mention that advertising doesn’t usually work on me – I usually just tune out if adverts come on and even if they do catch my attention and even if I like them, I am hard-pressed to think of a single one that has actually influenced me. OK, so I’m aware of the brand, but that doesn’t mean I’ll buy the product. Often this is because I tend to listen to the TV rather than actually watching it, particularly during advert breaks, when I frequently don’t bother to listen either. With the advert I have mentioned, however, I had been listening to the music (Mozart’s Requiem is favourite of mine) and having heard it a number of times over the last few weeks/months in the run-up to Christmas, I just happened to glance up on this occasion to see what the music was attached to, cue much puzzlement.  I think that perhaps I may watch a few more in future, just for the WTF moments 😀

Returning from the somewhat pointless world of advertising to the business of scents, I sincerely hope that no desperate, last-minute-shopping males are under the misapprehension that perfumes are an easy gift to buy for a woman. Smells are a very personal thing and perfumes or scents, especially so. The bottle may be beautiful, the sales assistant persuasive, the stuff may even smell nice on the little strip of card and you may even fancy that you wouldn’t mind a waft of that on your girl, but that is no guarantee that it won’t smell like a tramp’s trousers on her.

On my search for an alternative to my “everyday” perfume, which is now discontinued (boo hoo!) I sampled a lot of other scents and it was astonishing how different they smelled once applied to skin. The thing with perfumes is that they are made of a blend of different scents and when the initial top notes have evaporated, the remaining underlying base notes don’t always smell as nice on one. So, not only does perfume need to be tested on the person who is going to be wearing it, but it needs to be allowed to develop for a while to see what the lingering scent will be.

As a rule, it is an extraordinarily bad idea to buy perfume as a gift, unless it is known to be worn or desired by the recipient. Trust me on this one.


22 December 2011

7 Comments to “Scents and Sensibility”

  1. The ad is for YSL Opium. I know because I too looked up when I heard it, and also did not get the connection ….

  2. Thank you so much Ania – reading this has propelled me in the direction of vintage perfumes; and I think it’s going to be expensive!!

  3. Have re read and posting comment as requested on fb

  4. I am to be found, every advert break, shouting at the TV screen about false eyelashes, ‘styled with hair extensions’ and even poor Stacy Solomon driving home for Christmas in her glittery frock gets it in the neck from me.

    Make up and hair product adverts make my blood absolutely boil!!!!


  5. “smell like a tramp’s trousers”. Thanks for my first laugh of 2011. 🙂

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