The fragrance industry is big business, very big business. It includes much more than retail sales of fragrances. Related industries such as chemical companies supply the chemicals the fragrances are made from. Most fragrance chemicals are synthesized from petroleum products. Some companies formulate fragrances and flavors for other companies. Marketing and advertising are used to create and promote the image of a fragrance.
Add related industries such as companies that add fragrance to personal care, personal hygiene, and household products and the impact is even greater. The food industry is also a large user of fragrance chemicals known as flavors or aroma chemicals when used in foods. Flavor / fragrance chemicals are also in heavy use by the tobacco industry as additives to cigarettes to enhance flavor, especially the lower tar and nicotine brands.
Virtually every aspect of our lives is impacted by the Fragrance Industry. In the past many products had generic scents that identified their use, rather than brand. All soaps had an odor that was identified as "soap". Most laundry detergents had the basic same odor and most cleaners either had a pine or lemon scent. This is no longer the case.
Laundry smells fresh for days. Advertising campaigns are based on the odor rather than the performance of products. Entire industries are built around the perception of odor. The sense of smell is the least understood of the senses and often considered the less important of the senses. Yet it is the basis of multi-billion dollar industries.
"Why is fragrance so important to the buying public? The key is a mixture of biological response, psychology, and memory. The limbic system is the most primitive part of our brain and the seat of immediate emotions."
Gas chromatography and Mass Spectrometry brought about tremendous change in the Fragrance Industry. No longer could the secrecy of formulas be maintained. A skilled fragrance chemist with GC/MS equipment could analyze a fragrance and pretty closely duplicate a fragrance. Copies of expensive, exclusive fragrances were now available at a fraction of the cost.
Along with the ability to copy other perfumes, came the ability to analyze natural materials. Now closer matches could be made in duplicating natural materials. There was less need to purchase expensive natural materials. Synthetics could be blended to better imitate the naturals. Synthetic materials as a rule are less costly, the quality is easier to maintain, and the supply is more reliable.
These changes made mass production of fragrances widespread. The market became even more competitive. Advertising and marketing campaigns now accounted for most of the cost of perfumes. Image became the all-important selling feature of a fragrance.
Trickle down fragranced products became popular. Shampoos, lotions, and soaps were now available in the same scent as one's favorite perfume. In order to compete other brands now had to have distinctive scents. The generic scent for products no longer existed.
Marketing became the most important aspect of whether a product was successful. And fragrance has become the basis of that marketing. Skilled advertising campaigns create the image and convince consumers that their product will make them happy, sexy, mysterious, alluring, etc.
Your child's clothes have that fresh smell so everyone knows you have done a good job. While sweating is acceptable, smelling like sweat is not. Your hair must smell terrific, your soap must be fresh as spring, and your clothes smell mountain fresh.
A good perfume has been traditionally formulated to last six to eight hours. There were three notes. The first note was the first impression of the fragrance immediately out of the bottle. The second note was the body of the fragrance and took a bit do develop after it was on the skin. The third note was the lingering quality of the fragrance. The key to a good perfume was for these three notes to flow into each other to produce a pleasing effect. Colognes and other products were less concentrated and the odor did not last as long.
Now detergents are advertised make your clothes smell fresh for days. With most personal care, personal hygiene, and household products being scented there is a constant bombardment of fragrance. For a product to be distinctive, it must be able to be detected over this "background noise" of fragrance.
The trend is for immediately powerful fragrances that are long lasting. Gone is the gradual development and gradual fading of a fragrance. The impact is immediate and long lasting. And of course, to keep up with the competition, all fragrances have to be immediate and long lasting. Over the past 20 years there has been a phenomenal increase in the use of fragranced products. Problems are emerging from this increase.