Marketer | Writer | Global Citizen

Fantasy Vessels: Perfume Bottles That Rival Their Contents

There was a time when ladies had dressing tables, ostensibly for applying makeup but also to display a collection of perfumes. Which rather explains why the perfume bottles of old were staggeringly beautiful -- they were meant to adorn, not just function as containers.

In this day and age of 3-1-1, we have stopped thinking of perfume bottles, mainly because they have become an encumbrance. Who hasn't skipped buying scent because decanting it into a travel atomizer would be too much trouble? Who hasn't sighed and said 'I wish my scent was a solid?'

Hence the flacon in the main photo, Rene Lalique's sumptuous Oiseau de Feu (French for firebird), would never be produced today. We do not consume that much perfume to justify an enormous container, much less want to pay for a bottle. Created in 1922, Oiseau de Feu was the embodiment of perfume bottle as art with its delicate etching on the exaggerated stopper. One such bottle was auctioned in recent years for $42,000.

Perfume bottle craftsmanship came into its own in the 13th century with the ascendance of Venetian glass artisans. Scent bottles from the 16th to the 18th centuries were gem-like in construction, with elaborate -- and expensive -- designs and finishes. This tells us that fragrance at that time was a phenomenon reserved for the aristocracy.

A trio of perfume bottles from the 18th century crafted from labradorite or agate
The perfume bottles above were constructed from labradorite or agate and finished with gold. The bottle on the far right may have been a lover's gift. Along the belly is the inscription 'Eloignez de vous rien n'est agreable' which translates to 'Away from you, there is no pleasure.'*

Perfume bottle artistry faded somewhat in the 19th century, only to be revived in the Jazz Age. Lalique, a jeweler by trade, had been experimenting with glass and entered into a profitable collaborative partnership with perfumer Francois Coty. Lalique's molded glass, with details highlighted in relief or frosted for stunning contrast, were revolutionary for that time.

The desire for bottles as beautiful as the perfumes they held inspired showstopping creations. This circa 1930s green malachite bottle is attributed to Rudolf Hlousek Eisenbrod**, a Czech artisan whose company specialized in deep sculpted art glass.

Rudolf Hlousek green malachite perfume bottle

The arrival of Chanel No. 5 and its square, minimalist bottle was the antithesis of the highly stylized container. A 1924 marketing brochure for Parfums Chanel said, 'Why rely on the art of the glassmaker ... Mademoiselle [Coco Chanel] is proud to present simple bottles adorned only by ... precious teardrops of perfume of incomparable quality, unique in composition, revealing the artistic personality of their creator.'

We may have lost something in relegating perfume bottles to the bric-a-brac of history. There is the pleasure of looking at exquisite examples of glass workmanship. There is the joy of displaying scents that are ingrained in our lives, scents that serve as chapter markers of sorts. Thankfully there are still collectors who value perfume bottles, both for sentimental value and the artistry they represent.

*Photo courtesy of Rococo Revisited

**Photo courtesy of Richard Hoppé Antiques

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Going For Woke: How Brand Activism is the New Path to Profit

‘These creatives are trying to make their toilet paper save the world.’
 
So opined fellow creative Rob Baiocco of BAM Connection, who was wryly commenting in a Guardian article about marketers’ new pursuit of social justice cred.
 
Is endowing the most banal of products with meaning as ludicrous as one would think? In October 2017, because the subject intrigued me as a marketer, I conducted my own research using SurveyMonkey.
 
The findings showed that, increasingly, consumers choose brands that are aligned with their values and shed those they perceive as a mismatch.

Use This Handy Asset Checklist For Branding or Rebranding

The exciting thing about branding is starting a new identity from scratch. In the case of rebranding, it’s giving something old and tired a new lease on life.

What’s not quite as fun are the million-and-one fiddly details that go into the exercise.

Stuff like:

  • Are the design team and me talking about the same thing? Like, is a stacked logo a square logo?
  • Are we covering all the items we truly need? Are we forgetting some that are actually important or, conversely, overdoing it and thereby incurring more expense?
  • Are we all on the same page about approval circuits and building in approval time before launch?

There are many excellent and free branding brief templates to furnish your agency or designer, such as this one from FreshSparks. What’s not so common is a laundry list of all the assets that should be covered by the process. A list sets the foundation for budgeting, timing and organizing. A list grounds you.

So here’s my version that I’ve used several times, from rebranding a 44-country international firm to creating a brand new identity for a digital agency. You can download it as a Word doc as well.

It’s a rare case where all items on this list will be checked off. B2B companies would require more of the digital templates while an e-commerce outfit would need a fuller range of ad formats. Feel free to adjust as necessary.

Logo/brand mark

Tesla logo guidelines

Tesla’s brand guidelines specify the amount of clear space required around the brand mark, as well as where it should appear. For example, the logo should never be placed on a highly patterned background or photograph is

  • Landscape
  • Portrait
  • Square/stacked
  • Black and white
  • Reverse
  • Favicon

Files should be in as many formats as possible: JPG, PNG, EPS, AI. Include sizes that can be used for larger formats such as outdoor signage and as small as a favicon. The wide range of measurements will test the skill of your designer, as the brand mark has to look good at 16px (a favicon’s size) as it would wrapped around the side of a building.

Fonts

Beats By Dre typography example

Beats By Dre’s typography embodies its brand: Solid and contemporary, almost masculine.

  • Serif
  • Sans serif

A normal number of fonts to start with would be two, a serif and a sans serif that complement each other. Depending on the brand’s needs, you may also want to commission a script or another distinct font for headlines.

Exercise good sense in choosing fonts. The more fanciful or rare ones require a license which can be cost-prohibitive when purchasing it for multiple users.

In addition, clients who do not have these fonts in their systems will find that any documents you sent them have defaulted to Times New Roman or Arial, not to mention the formatting has all gone off. Remember that Google Fonts are good looking and free!

Color palette

AirBnb color palette

AirBnB’s color palette has 9 shades but 6 shades is a good number to start with.

  • Dominant color 1
  • Dominant color 2
  • Accent color 1
  • Accent color 2
  • Accent color 3
  • Accent color 4

Picking brand colors must be one of the most enjoyable parts of a brand exercise. If you want to play around with colors yourself, have a go using these tools.

Digital templates

Future Prospect Powerpoint template

From cover slide to bullet styles, your PowerPoint presentation should be consistent with your brand. Future Prospect PowerPoint template by Jumsoft.

  • Letterhead
  • PowerPoint or Keynote presentation
  • PowerPoint or Keynote charts – Pie, bar, stacked bar, line, etc.
  • Infographic
  • Icons
  • One-page brochure
  • White paper
  • Invoice
  • Receipt
  • Email signature
  • House ads – Leaderboard, mobile leaderboard, wide skyscraper, large rectangle, medium rectangle, billboard

Digital templates are the workhorses of your brand asset library. In the absence of guidelines, users tend to put their own creative stamp on common documents. Nip these in the bud by providing a full spectrum of branded applications.

Social media assets

Aman Instagram account

Aman’s Instagram account is serene and luxurious, just like the resort company itself.

  • Headers – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn
  • Profile photos
  • Social ads

Normally social media assets are cobbled together internally by the marketing or social media team. If so, it never hurts to run mockups by the brand steward or designer to gauge brand cohesiveness. Future iterations can then be created with pointers in mind.

Stationery

Jukebox Print cards

Print can be a surprisingly strong way to anchor your brand. Cards by Jukebox Print.

  • Business card
  • Letterhead
  • Letter envelopes
  • Window envelopes
  • Catalog or document envelopes
  • Invoice
  • Receipt
  • Note card or compliments slip
  • Presentation folder
  • Mailing label
  • Brochure

We like to think that print has gone the way of the mastodons, but marketers are discovering that in the mad rush to go digital, emptier mailboxes mean better opportunities to showcase your brand. Did you know that direct mail as a percentage of all mail went up in 2016? And never underestimate the power of the humble receipt to carry brand messaging.

Corporate signage

Slack offices Toronto

Lobby signage doesn’t have to be boring. Slack offices in Toronto, courtesy of Office Snapshots.

  • Lobby signage
  • Directional signage
  • Glass vinyl graphics
  • Exterior signage
  • Event signage

Think of signage as another canvas for your brand. How can you use that space to communicate your brand’s key attributes?

Trade show assets

Ray Ban tradeshow booth

This Ray-Ban tradeshow booth certainly turned heads at an ophthalmology conference in Milan. Photo courtesy of Trive Digest.

  • Retractable banners
  • Trade show booth
  • Table drapery

Apart from their networking benefits, conferences and trade shows are prime opportunities to build brand awareness. You may not have the budget of Ray-Ban in creating a stunning booth, but never underestimate how a well designed retractable banner can stop traffic.

Other applications

New York Post gummy bears giveaway

People are still talking about this bucket of gummy bears that the New York Post gave away during Advertising Week 2014.

  • Branded premiums
  • Branded attire
  • Vehicle wrap
  • Photography
  • Other application 1
  • Other application 2

Want to make this list yours? Download it as a Word document.

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