Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Selling Fragrances in Monotones


Many years ago, not long after Marconi got the kinks worked out of the technology, I produced my own radio program - The Audio Attic - on Radio Fairfax, the public access station in Fairfax County, Virginia.

In learning the basics of radio production, I had to master things like air time management and the ins and outs of advertising ... the hard sell, the soft sell, and the use of one's voice to create an atmosphere for the listener conducive getting him or her to want to run out and buy whatever you were selling.

I've been off the air for a long time, but I thought about my experiences in advertising the other day when I realized something about a subject I'd never much considered before - fragrance commercials.

There are a lot of commercials on television now for a lot of different fragrances, and they all have one thing in common ... see if it registers with you. Consider this one, for J'Adore ...



and this one, for "Boss: the Scent" ...



and this one, for l'Eau #5 from Chanel ...



Here's what I noticed: none of them has much dialog, but all of the dialog is delivered in a monotone.

Now, I spent a lot of time learning all sorts of verbal delivery techniques to avoid a monotone ... and these overpriced perfumes seem to be deliberately using it in their pitches. What's up with that? Is a monotone supposed to be sexy? I know that advertisers use various accents to create specific moods - French for sexy, English* for sophistication, German for high technology** - but what is conveyed by an offhand monotone?

What, if anything, is the effect that such an ad with such a delivery has on you? I'm curious, so please leave a comment.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.

Bilbo

* It's been said that an upper class Englishman reading the Manhattan phone book will always sound better than an American reading the Gettysburg Address.

** Or for threats.

8 comments:

John Hill said...

Maybe it's an underlying hypnotic thing. Subliminal messaging meets hypnosis to make you want to buy...

Duckbutt said...

The monotone is a soft approach to accompany the visual content. Kind of like breathless.

Mike said...

I just turn the sound off and watch the girls.

Mike said...

And then there is this commercial.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdZrDBDGtso
A Charter Cable commercial that is the most obnoxious you'll ever see. And they ran it constantly for months. People hated this thing. I think Trump could win a likability contest against this.

Here's article about it.
http://www.riverfronttimes.com/musicblog/2016/09/21/this-man-must-be-stopped

Bilbo said...

Thanks for nothing, Mike. I can't imagine being subjected to that gawdawful video over and over again. I'm not sure I agree that DJT would win a likability contest over it, but it might be close.

eViL pOp TaRt said...

The impression that I got from J'adore is that it implies that you will turn into someone who is totally sexy. It's a breathy delivery.

Chanel #5 did not have much dialog, but it made a real punch at the end.

Hugo Boss --- the least successful one.

I feel like I need to add a scent.

Grand Crapaud said...

Hugo Boss came across than the Axe ads in the movies.

allenwoodhaven said...

I think they want to emphasize the visual message to hook into the emotional connection they're trying to create. The monotone makes that content almost subliminal.
Perfume is a difficult thing to advertise since we don't have smellovision yet.