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Guest Column: The New Scent of Clean

By: Lori Miller Burns, director of marketing, Arylessence
Posted: July 22, 2011

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That’s great news for perfumers, fragrance houses and manufacturers. What is remarkable—and what many observers don’t realize—is that the creative energy being invested in today’s consumer specialty products category is on a scale never before seen in the fragrance industry.

Factors influencing how specialty marketers are thinking and how perfumers and evaluators must respond include the fact that complex, sophisticated fragrance styles now are the norm. Also, just as ‘clean’ and ‘fresh’ are two words that say the most about air care and household cleaning products—and while pine, citrus and lavender still are working their hearts out in homes—defining what clean and fresh actually mean today has become the overwhelming creative challenge.

S.C. Johnson’s legacy air freshener Glade is a spectacularly diversified brand, offering candles, oils and gels, room sprays, and fabric and carpet fresheners. In candles alone, Glade offers 24 fragrance variants, starting with scents as simple as Clean Linen or Apple Cinnamon, and quickly expanding into exotic, complex variations such as Moonlit Walk & Wandering Stream, Creamy Custard & Blushing Apple, and Relaxing Moments Cool Serenity, which Glade tells says is like a day at the spa, where one can ‘relax with the scents of water peony flowers, sandalwood and soothing waters.’

While a simple candle, such as Cinnamon, may have just a few ingredients, a more complex fragrance, such as Hawaiian Breeze, must essentially be a constructed symphony with multiple ingredients, complex notes and accords. And to find exactly the right combinations, every brand in every category is looking for great fragrance ideas on every part of the fragrance spectrum.

Traditionally, Procter & Gamble’s muscular Mr. Clean handles household chores with high energy and efficiency—but today, the classic character is very much in touch with his softer side. His hard surface cleaners currently offer scents from eight major fragrance families, including fresh and fruity florals, powder, herbal, edibles and vanilla, citrus, and melon. And behind some of Mr. Clean’s newest scents— such as Meadows & Rain and New Zealand Springs—is P&G’s fragrance powerhouse Febreze.

Franchise Fragrances Work Across Products, Brands and Corporations