"WARNING: possible side effects, aphrodisiac and 'parfum d'amour'!"
For the record, the sales copy on the Etsy site where the perfume is currently sold appears to have been toned down, and now reads:
"A subtle explosion of pleasure through the senses
Mysterious and Enchanting, EAU de EARTH
reimagining the power of Nature! and women!"
So no more references to "love elixir" or "taking you where no woman has gone before". Well, I am glad about that, but am still wrestling with the non-perfume-y connotations of the box.
In the comments to my previous post, a couple of (female) readers remarked that the Eau de Earth box looked like condom packaging, which I must say had not occurred to me, though I can see the resemblance now it has been brought to my attention.
I raised the issue of the masculine leaning packaging with Nicolas, the owner of Bright Earth Parfums and nose behind Eau de Earth. He said that it was too late to change the box now, and encouraged people to view its design with fresh eyes - his sister had described it as 'avant-garde'.
|A classically stylish box for a scent called Avant-Garde! ~ Source: eBay|
"How about you look at the box with your imagination turned around, you wake up and you say to your self, hum that box is indeed interesting, no more smoking playing video game, it is an unusual view, very home it is!!!"
I am afraid I remained unconvinced that people would be able to make this imaginative leap, and to gather further feedback I decided to host a mini-focus group amongst my 'civilian' friends on Facebook. I initially invited just men to take part, but a number of women piled in once the discussion had got underway:
"Okay, so this is for men only, and only for men who have NOT read my blog post about this perfume. Which I am confident will be most of you. You don't have to be particularly keen on cologne or anything, just an occasional user is fine. I am undertaking some genuine market research for the company behind this packaging, and the question is quite simply: 'If you saw this box, what would you think was in it?' Please assume you can't read the lettering, but can only make out the image / general design of it."
Well, I say that I asked people to pretend they couldn't read the lettering - one respondent helpfully went that bit further in terms of scientific rigour:
"Took the image, blurred the writing, printed a copy, and showed it to the four guys round to play a wargame today. So the sample is geeks aged 49 to 64."
Hmm, it may be that the demographic bias towards gaming geeks slightly offsets the conscientious anonymising of the box. I am still impressed by his attention to detail though. ;)
|Respondent's chosen image ~ Source: brandingmagazine.com|
Right...I have since gone back and analysed the results - multiple answers were allowed - but from the men only. Views were either expressed directly on my Facebook wall, or in some cases were relayed by their womenfolk.
Condoms - 7
Cigarette packet (several specific mentions of menthol, although I note that many brands of menthol cigarette opt for shamrock green packaging) - 5
DVD (either sci-fi or scientific) - 4
Lavatory cleaner / disinfectant - 2
Electronic device (GPS, mobile phone) - 2
Others - 7 (one mention each for: air freshener / 'air and coal' / razor blades / cold patches / game / sci-fi card game / enormous chunks of elephant poo in space - WTF??!!)
Here are a few comments, to give you a flavour of the lively discussion that unfolded:
"It does look like a bad johnny packet...or some shocking fags, maybe imported from Russia to impress the vulnerable."
"...rubber johnnies...or if not them, definitely something very cheap and subpar. Sorry to your client but that is one ugly piece of packaging."
A couple of wags jumped in with additional concerns I hadn't anticipated:
"I would be worried if a packet of condoms had the word 'spray' on it."
"It's rather concerning that there is the potential to mix up razor blade and condom packets."
"Both are found in chemists..."
"Hmm, enormous potential for confusion."
Then the other weekend, I was visiting a friend who is a smoker, and noticed a packet of Pall Mall cigarettes on a table, and was instantly reminded of this exercise. Ironically, he didn't even think of cigarettes himself when I asked for his take on the box - his comment was:
"Mmm...something electronic...? GPS...?"
And of course no poll-type post would be complete without an Undina-style graphic. Not up to her standard of rich functionality, perhaps, but my best effort.