And while we’re on the subject of scents and smells, here’s this last weekend’s Sunday Times column (illustrated), just in case you missed it:
I LOVE THE SMELL OF NAPALM IN THE MORNING
I noticed something strange at work today. Well, to be fair, I pretty much notice something strange at work every day. That’s what happens when you work in an advertising agency. But today’s strange thing was a bit stranger than the usual range of daily strange.
In the corporate bathroom, on the floor next to the toilet, beside the spare two ply, (times are too tough for three ply, but hopefully never tough enough for one ply) was a can of aerosol air freshener that was Strawberries and Cream flavoured.
Baffled, I sprayed a little in the air and discovered that it really does smell just like fresh strawberries and cream. It was like being at Wimbledon in that little cubicle.
I find myself increasingly confused with this scent decision. I totally get lavender and rose, or potpourri and forest tree for a bathroom toilet spray. But I don’t get the thinking behind food flavours.
I’m going to be blunt and a little coarse here, because there’s really no delicate way of putting this. But do people really want their um… er… their poo to smell like strawberries and cream? Do they? Really? Do we want our bathrooms to smell like our kitchens? Is that what we’re doing nowadays? I’m only asking because I may have missed that trend, they seem to come and go so quickly.
Also I don’t think that the good people at the multi-national corporation responsible for this product would ever just randomly come up with a scent by sucking it out of fresh air. Chances are, when the time came to launch a new flavour, they put together a task force of their finest minds, wrote reports and delved into at least six months of costly research and development, and held a number of national research focus groups to come up with the idea.
Ah research. It’s a marvelous thing. You put fifteen random regular South Africans from your target market around a table, feed them sandwiches and ask them probing questions about your product. While suits sit on the other side of a one way glass observing them and taking notes.
I can only picture the scene:
RESEARCH LADY: Right ladies, today we want to find out from you, if you didn’t want your poo to smell of your poo, what would you like it to smell of?
HOUSEWIFE ONE: (Tentatively) What about lavender?
HOUSEWIFE TWO: I’m sure that’s been done before.
HOUSEWIFE THREE: I think it should be a really lovely, lovely smell, you know, a pretty smell, something that we all like to smell.
HOUSEWIFE FOUR: I like the smell of strawberries…
ALL HOUSEWIVES IN UNISON: Oooh yum, strawberries.
HOUSEWIFE TWO: You know what goes well with strawberries? Cream!
And so the idea to invent a Strawberries and Cream toilet air freshener was born.
What’s next? Cinnamon flavour? Freshly baked biscuits flavour? (That smell’s been proven to sell houses, you know.) And what about chocolate, or is that too ironic? Somehow I’m left thinking that no matter what the research says, we should probably just steer clear of the food flavours in the bathroom if we can. Ocean smells are in, chocolate chip cookies, not so much.