Where does fragrance fit into the product concept? The effect of fragrance messages in different product categories

Howard R. Moskowitz
Moskowitz Jacobs Inc., United States


We can scarcely walk through the aisles of a department store or supermarket without becoming aware of fragrance and aroma. For many years companies and scientists alike recognized that fragrance was a key to enjoying a product, but the merchandising of products was not engineered with the eye towards fragrance as it is today. Indeed, if we look at the business and scientific literatures of the past century, we will be struck by the paucity of information on the psychology of smell. Of course there were now and again articles in magazines devoted to perfumery, but it took the growth of experimental psychology (specifically smell psychophysics) and then the explosion of marketing to bring the world of smell into great focus. Chemical Senses, the world's leading journal on the chemical senses (now published by Oxford Press), was founded in 1972, and the first issue appeared only in 1974, far later than journals for the other senses. After this explosion of interest in the chemical senses, it soon became obvious that the field of odor perception was a fertile research area to understand individual differences in perception and hedonics, a wonderful precursor to marketing issues and preference patterns (Moskowitz, 1986; 1992).