You Can’t Sell Perfume in an Ugly Bottle

Perfume Bottle Collection
Image by Nathan Branch via Flickr

While watching a fragrance commercial, I noticed there was no discussion of scent. It was all beautiful people catching the glances of other great looking people and, of course, it ended with a picture of a beautiful bottle.

Why can’t you sell perfume in a plain bottle?

A plain women’s perfume bottle:

  • speaks to no one
  • It doesn’t look pretty on the vanity
  • It doesn’t yell “feminine” when held in the hand to apply it
  • and using it won’t make her feel pretty

Gender neutral

The same goes for men’s fragrance. The bottle has to say MAN, successful, stylish, …. You get the picture. Nothing about the scent…

A plain men’s cologne bottle:

  • speaks to no one
  • It doesn’t say “successful with women” to friends who will see it in his bathroom.
  • It has to feel “masculine” in his hand
  • Using it won’t make him feel more desirable to women.

Is the fragrance better because it’s in a beautiful bottle? Of course not. But it is the perceived result that dictates value in anything.

Do you get it?

So, I have friends in the Pedorthic shoe business who still can’t understand why women are so resistant to “healthy” shoes despite all the negative press on the damage caused by stilettos.  Seriously?!

Healthy shoes:

  • speak to no one
  • They don’t match with dresses, skirts, skinny jeans, etc… or most professional wear
  • They have no sex appeal.
  • They don’t make you feel pretty or handsome.

My friends counter with the fact that bunions aren’t pretty either!

When women buy pretty shoes, they are buying a work of art, decorations for their feet, a perfect match for their outfit, acceptance from peers, maybe even a chance to attract a mate. Practical and therapeutic is not sexy.

If you don’t have bunions now, today, and you are seeking pretty, well-matching, sexy shoes that make you feel sexy, too, you will not buy healthy shoes. And, like Scarlett O’Hara, you will think about the bunions those pretty shoes cause …tomorrow.

You must promote results

So, if my feet hurt badly – TODAY – then yes, I will buy ugly shoes if that is my only choice to make the pain go away – BUT, understand, and this is very important – PAIN RELIEF is what I am buying, NOT ugly shoes. The pain relief = the beautiful bottle.

The beautiful bottle does not make the perfume smell better or attract more mates. It is the romance and beauty of the bottle that makes us feel more alluring when we use the product. So the pain relief and the ability to become active again makes us buy the ugly shoe.

Primarily a women’s issue?

No. It’s the same with men.

Can a guy invite his buds to watch the Big Game on a small TV? Can he read his email and work on documents with a small screen and fewer gigs? Of course he can, but will he? NO.

Smaller electronics are:

  • Wimpy
  • Don’t have the Tim Allen grunt appeal
  • Can’t be bragged about
  • And they don’t yell “I am king of electronics!”

Bigger electronics do not always mean better, but they provide the perceived results.

Beautiful fragrance bottles do not always mean a better scent with better results with the opposite sex, but …

So, LEARN.

Retailers: don’t sell products. They sell results. The customers who want those results will already be half-sold.

…And when they make a healthy shoe that has real sex appeal, I’ll be first in line…

8 thoughts on “You Can’t Sell Perfume in an Ugly Bottle

  1. Great post. I’ve heard the same said when desribing pitching yourself for a job. Don’t go in saying: I’m organized, multi-taskter, self-starter… Go in saying: I will increase your revenue. I will get you 100 sales in the next two months… Results are what sells – for products and people.

    1. Thanks, Leah. Excellent point. It is all about the WIFM – what’s in it for me? So many sales people get hung on promoting the manufacturing and materials… Just tell me why I want to buy it! What will it do for me?

  2. Great post. I’ve heard the same said when desribing pitching yourself for a job. Don’t go in saying: I’m organized, multi-taskter, self-starter… Go in saying: I will increase your revenue. I will get you 100 sales in the next two months… Results are what sells – for products and people.

    1. Thanks, Leah. Excellent point. It is all about the WIFM – what’s in it for me? So many sales people get hung on promoting the manufacturing and materials… Just tell me why I want to buy it! What will it do for me?

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