THE NOSE KNOWS

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Helen Keller once wrote, “In the odor of young men, there is something elemental, as of fire, storm and salt sea.� Were she alive today, she might still catch a whiff of the surf going by, as marine scents have become a popular ingredient in some of the newer colognes for men, like “Juice� by Ocean Pacific and “Premium� by Phat Farm, both launched in 2001. Such scents may become more sought after, however, if fragrance companies can get them under more noses. Not surprisingly, almost 8 in 10 (79 percent) of a nationally representative sample of 2,000 adults polled via telephone between April and May 2001, say a product's scent is the most important factor they consider when buying a fragrance. About 6 percent look for a reasonable price and just 2 percent who look for a designer name, according to a recent study.

Findings from the “Vertis Customer Focus 2001: Fragrance Industry Report,� commissioned by Baltimore-based Vertis Direct Marketing Services and released in November 2001, suggest that fragrance companies should focus their marketing efforts on finding new ways to expose consumers to aromas. The survey was conducted by Pittsburgh-based Marshall Marketing & Communications Inc.

According to the study, about 2 out of 3 American men (66 percent) dab cologne, while 3 out of 4 (76 percent) women spritz perfume. In fact, men and women purchase scents with equal frequency: 59 percent of men and 60 percent of women have bought perfume or cologne in the past 12 months. But the person who ends up wearing the scent may not even like it. It seems men aim to please: 1 in 5 men (19 percent) say they will wear a brand of fragrance because someone else likes it, compared with only 9 percent of women who will do the same.

Because shoppers often prefer to try on products before making a financial commitment, Scott Marden, director of strategic services for Vertis, says scent strips, which accompany fragrance ads in magazines, make sense. In fact, the majority of fragrance wearers (68 percent) have read at least one magazine in the past week, according to the report. And 61 percent of all adults who sniffed a scent strip in a magazine in the past three months say they find them somewhat or very helpful when choosing which fragrance to buy. Younger noses seem to be the most sensitive: 75 percent of Gen Ys (born 1977 to 1994) and 68 percent of Gen Xers (born 1965 to 1976) find them helpful, while 60 percent of Baby Boomers (born 1946 to 1964) and just 44 percent of Young/Olds (born 1930 to 1945) find them helpful.

When it comes to media placement, certain magazines do better than others. It's not surprising that fashion and style publications reach the largest share of women spending over $50 on perfume annually (38 percent). But more perfume and cologne advertisers may want to make their presence known in magazines beyond the pages of Cosmopolitan, Elle and Glamour. Of female big spenders, 35 percent read home and garden titles and 29 percent read arts and entertainment magazines, two genres that are far less saturated with scent strip ads.

Marketers might also consider reaching scent-conscious consumers through direct mail that includes scent strips or free samples of new fragrances. Sixty-two percent of perfume and cologne shoppers say they've read their direct mail in the past seven days.


For more on the report, contact Scott Marden at (215) 996-4156.

MAKING SCENTS

Of men who spend more than $51 on cologne or perfume annually, 25 percent read arts and entertainment magazines, compared with 18 percent of those who spend less than $51 per year on scents.

Q: WHAT TYPES OF MAGAZINES DO YOU READ OR LOOK THROUGH ON A REGULAR BASIS?

PERCENT OF MEN BUYING PERFUME OR COLOGNE WHO SPEND:

MAGAZINE TYPE TOTAL U.S. MEN LESS THAN $51 PER YEAR $51 OR MORE PER YEAR
Sports & leisure 26% 25% 28%
Arts & entertainment 19% 18% 25%
Science & nature 13% 15% 10%
Education 9% 9% 8%
Fashion & style 10% 8% 18%
Home & garden 8% 8% 9%
News 9% 9% 10%
Business & finance 7% 7% 8%
*Columns may add to more than 100% as respondents were asked to check as many as applied.
Source: Vertis Direct Marketing Services/Marshall Marketing & Communications Inc.
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