Fragrance and fragrance-makers have gone from relative obscurity to rock stardom in packaged-goods over the past decade. It's gotten to the point that an actor portraying a fragrance developer appears in a new ad for the National Parks Collection of fragrances from Reckitt Benckiser's Air Wick.
When was the last time, by the way, a fictional brand manager made it into a TV ad, aside from Coke Zero?
Marketers of air fresheners or deodorants used to ply mundane smells like vanilla, lavender, fresh linen and the ubiquitous if ill-defined "sport." Now marketers have products named after, and presumably smelling like, Denali National Park in Alaska. All that helps fuel an estimated $14 billion business supplying all manner of fragrance to marketers of the world, per estimates of Leffingwell & Associates and Chemical & Engineering News -- up around 5% last year.
With so many fancifully conceived fragrances hitting the market, we decided to see if Advertising Age readers can sniff out the real from the fake among the following fragrances and concepts.
Which ones do you think are real?
American Samoa (Refreshing notes of coconut and palm)
I guess that could be a smell
Yup, it's a new fragrance in Air Wick's "National Parks Collection."
Ew no way
It's new in Air Wick's "National Parks Collection." You think THIS deserves an "ew"? Keep scrolling.
Grand Canyon (Smells like cactus flower and warm breeze)
Sure that's real -- sounds lovely
Indeed. It's another from the Air Wick collection.
Probably not a smell
Au contraire -- people totally smell like the Grand Canyon, compliments of Air Wick.
Fiji (Smells like palm trees, sunshine and freedom)
Sounds awesome, must be a smell
And it is -- one of the tamer-sounding ones from Old Spice.
Wrong. It's a scent by Old Spice.
Princeton (Smells like mahogany, leather and success)
Totally a fragrance
Nope, just a town in New Jersey with an Ivy League university.
That sounds awful
Thankfully no one has tried to bottle the scent of Princeton.
Mount Rushmore (You'll be remembered forever)
Course it's a smell
Nope -- just a South Dakota mountainside sacred to Native Americans, with faces of U.S. presidents carved into it.
Like the mountainside? No.
You're right. The only place you'll smell Mount Rushmore is at Mount Rushmore.
Anarchy (Stimulate senses and stay assured all night long)
Who WOULDN'T want to smell that?
Right?! It's an Axe scent that (obviously) makes men and women lose their senses.
Not a scent
It exists, thanks to Axe.
Entropy (Drive her into a state of chaos)
Sounds like a fragrance
Nah, just the second law of thermodynamics.
Don't think so
Good instincts. Entropy is the second law of thermodynamics -- not yet available as potpourri.
Dark Ambition (Seething undertones of passion)
No, the real Axe scent is "Dark Temptation."
No that'd be creepy
Well, this one doesn't exist, but "Dark Temptation" does. Is that less creepy?
Snake Peel (When you're feeling a little dirty)
I think a guy on my commute wears this
Yeah? Smells like orange peel, with exfoliating beads
Maybe, but it exists. Apparently it smells of citrus.
Wildflowers & Shame (How to forget last night?)
No, this was a line from an Old Spice ad mocking Axe.
Correct -- just a line from an Old Spice ad mocking Axe.
Red Velvet Cake (Fill your house with delicious scent of fresh cake)
Sounds like a great one
Yes, Renuzit scent. Yummy no?
No one wants to smell like red velvet
Some people do -- it's a Renuzit scent.
Creme Brulee (A tempting indulgence)
I'd wear that
And you can, since it's real -- also by Renuzit.
No one would buy that
Some people do -- and can. Again: compliments of Renuzit.
Strawberry Tart (Also a tempting indulgence)
That's a fragrance
Nope, but evokes images -- some having to do with dessert
Would be pointless as a scent
Yeah, it's not one. Yet.
Thai Dragon Fruit (an exotic breath of fresh air)
That could grace my nostrils
Lucky for you, it's a Febreze car air freshener.
Probably not a scent
Actually, it's a Febreze car air freshener.
Wolfthorn (The smell of the wild)
Of course it's real -- an Old Spice scent.
You can't bottle the scent of the wild
Old Spice tried.
Wolfbane (on the hunt for success)
Nope -- just a poisonous plant.
Not a fragrance
Ding ding -- just a poisonous plant.
Hawkridge (smells like the tingly song of raptor lullaby)
Definitely a scent
Yes, another new Old Spice scent.
No, this would be ridiculous.
Old Spice sells it.
Eagle's Nest (Perched on the brink of manhood)
Sure why not
No. You do know what eagle chicks do in their nests, right?
No, sounds awful
And it would be.
Swagger (Transforms unfresh men into legends of confidence)
Yep. It's an Old Spice scent.
It's an Old Spice scent.
Boast (Smells like conquest and satisfaction)
I know someone who'd buy that
No, at least not yet.
Um kill me (not a fragrance)
Nope. It ain't.