Monday, July 18, 2016

Making Scents of Perfume Marketing

Fragrances have the power to evoke emotions and trigger memories when we least expect it. But can fragrance packaging be just as effective as its scent? The LIM College Archives is tackling this question as it processes the Stanley Kohlenberg Collection. Mr. Kohlenberg, adjunct faculty member at LIM College, has documented an insider’s look of the cosmetics and fragrance industry from 1959 through today. He is someone who not only understands the science behind creating scents but also the art of packaging and branding them. With a science degree from Columbia University, Mr. Kohlenberg quickly transitioned in his career from pharmacy to his true calling of marketing and distribution. He became an integral part of beauty companies like Revlon, Calvin Klein Cosmetics, Coty, Sanofi Beaute, and CFT Marketing. As founder of CFT Marketing, he was responsible for the distribution of The Marilyn Monroe Collection (and the Marilyn Monroe name for beauty products) in the early ‘80s. The packaging and ad below feature playful images of Marilyn that create a positive association with the product—without even knowing what the scent smells like.

The bottle, packaging, and advertising (above) feature the dazzling Marilyn Monroe with the catchy tag line “Wistful. Glamorous. Sultry. Quixotic. There’s a little Marilyn Monroe in Every Woman.” Stanley Kohlenberg Collection / LIM College Archives. © 1983 The Estate of Marilyn Monroe

Celebrities and their endorsements—whether intentional or not—can help to persuade customers to develop opinions about products, especially when it comes to beauty. For instance, Marilyn Monroe helped boost sales and the popularity of Chanel No. 5 twice: The first was with one photograph (circa 1955) where she is seen dabbing on the fragrance in a string of pearls. The second was when an interviewer asked her what she wore to bed, and her famous reply was “Chanel No. 5.” Similarly, perfume bottles can have the same effect. Packaging is an art form, and perfume bottles, in particular, are often collected solely for their creative designs and elegant feel. On a quest for answering the question of packaging versus scent, I found myself exploring different perfumes, brands and, of course, books. The following is a list of recommended titles on this topic from the Adrian G. Marcuse Library. So come check out these books, and the next time you buy your favorite perfume or cologne, think twice about what is driving your purchase!

By Tillar J. Mazzeo
[Call number: 338.7 MAZ]

By Elisabeth Barillé
[Call number: 668 BAR]

By Jacqueline Johnson
[Call number: 741.67 JOH]

By Judith Miller
[Call number 748.82 MIL]

By Cathy Newman
[Call number: 668 NEW]

To view Stanley Kohlenberg’s Collection, including a special collection of scents from the Fragrance Foundation, please contact the LIM College Archives:


Posted on July 18, 2016 I Blog post by Elizabeth Marotta, M.L.I.S. (Archivist/Librarian)