Monday, May 2, 2011
When I post a review on Fragrantica, I generally have a quick look through the posts, and never fail to be amazed by people’s obsessive posting of pictures of the bottle for any perfume that they mention. Sometimes there’s a thread with dozens of posts about the same perfume, each with the same bottle icon, making what could be a short thread very long and tiresome to go through. Even on Basenotes, if you look at threads like “Scent of the Day”, you’ll see that many people who post have inserted a picture of the perfume in question or the ad for it, sometimes as large as a billboard.
Frankly, I don’t get it. To me, perfume is not about appearance, it’s all about how it smells. I do like to have a name by which to identify each perfume that I try, but that’s it. Once I’ve seen a picture of a bottle of Chanel No. 5 or Alien, I know what it looks like. I don’t need to see it again and again. If I really want to know what the container looks like, it’s easy to look it up.
I can’t help but think that some people focus more on a perfume’s bottle and advertising than they do on the fragrance itself. Or maybe because it’s so hard to describe scents verbally, people come to view a perfume in terms of its bottle or advertising image, which eventually becomes sort of a pictograph that serves as a name in their minds. Maybe the reason I find the use of bottle and ad pictographs so superfluous is because, in my mind’s eye, I already have my own abstract visual images of what each perfume is like, formed when I smelled it from a generic sample vial, and these have nothing to do with the bottle or ad.
So my question to you, dear reader, is whether you mentally use perfume bottles or ads as pictographs or symbols to represent the perfume. Is this a good thing? Setting aside issues of quality and aesthetics in packaging or advertising, do you think that a perfume’s value is enhanced by an iconic bottle or ad?