Scents and sensibilities

Whether or not we recognize it, all of us are affected by scents. Proof that smell matters a lot can be noted in the size of the perfume industry. However, there are countless other examples that reveal the surpassing importance of smells. Along with sight and sound, scents have a tremendous potential power,

Consider some of the following. Fragrant odours matter a great deal; thus, a serious romantic will throw on something that smells good before going out on a date.

Magazines, particularly those dedicated to women, have been liberally sprinkled with a delightful perfume on their pages. On the other hand men are entranced by the smell of a new car, which may explain some new automobile purchases.

Bloodhounds are used to track down a criminal or locate a missing child. Those affected are well aware of the effects of smells.

Smells frequently trigger subliminal messages, often catching us unaware of their influence. Perfume counters at department stores undoubtedly lure customers to buy some kind of “fragrance.” At Christmas time the delightful smell of Christmas trees and wreaths certainly put many of us in a mood to go shopping. In the autumn, the whiff of smoke from burning leaves or wood in a fireplace evokes many sentiments, nostalgia about school or university days, or sitting around a campfire with friends. Smoke from a forest fire brings forth a different response. The smell of the ocean may encourage some to go out to the sea; the smell of chocolate at a party may make the host appear to be more friendly.

By no stretch of the imagination, the particular smell of a hospital is not an inviting one.

Appropriate fragrances in minimal amounts may make a situation seem more pleasant.

These subliminal effects can influence customers to make a purchase. Retailers, but not the general public, are aware of that. Hence, scents can be a legitimate method of manipulation, a sensible tool.

The sweet smell of success clearly is undetectable, needless to say is not an odour, but an elusive goal, beyond the reach of most, but nevertheless it is something that lots of us seek.


Bruce Whitestone