Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Scent of Twitter in Perfume's Future

I’m still trying to figure out how a word with a negative connotation (“twit” as in “idiot”, “twitter” as in “wasting time”) became a branded gerund for micro-blogging. The idea of people posting daily “tweets”, for all of their friends to see, smacks of adolescent narcissists with too much time on their hands. When I read a Twitter page attributed to Christopher Walken*, suddenly Twitter and its potential use in promoting the art of perfumery made sense.

If you don’t know who Christopher Walken is, stop reading this sentence and drop a cartoon anvil over your head. The actor is known for delivering lines with the ceremony of a Zen master channeling staccato koans in an accent that sways from Slavic to Dutch to Brooklynese. Twitter is the perfect canvas for Walken as the 140-word limit is tailored to his distinctive style of elocution and humor.

Twitter’s promotional video is informative, but unlike the efficiency of microblogging it evangelizes, takes forever to pitch the validity of the medium’s benefits (slow, child-like drawings, pale narration, etc.). Still, there are many ways Twitter could be used to promote the art of perfumery. Glass Petal Smoke envisions the following opportunities:

1. Daily entries by fine fragrance perfumers as they are creating a scent.

2. Daily entries by essential oil houses with informative fragrance facts for consumers.

3. Daily entries by fragrance brands to build excitement for a perfume launch.

4. Daily entries by The Fragrance Foundation highlighting perfume stories in the news.

5. Daily entries by niche fragrance boutiques promoting consumer scent stories.

The issue of brands owning Twitter pages does come into question. When an end-user registers on the site, a URL is created that includes the name of the site backslashed to the end-user’s chosen name on Twitter. As a test, I ran http:/ and came up with a personal account that had nothing to do with the fashion house or its fragrances. If Twitter is going to catch on in beauty, companies need to own their brands on the site. Judging from Chanel’s full-page ads against trademark infringement in Women's Wear Daily, this sort of twittering might get on their litigious nerves.

As expected, the niche scent market is experimenting with Twitter territory. Salus Bath and Body Care in Mantou, Colorado sells Twitter Gangster Perfume for men and women. That’s right, Twitter Gangster Perfume, complete with a supporting video on the store's site featuring an unthuggy crew that look like they’ve never seen a day in the ghetto. There are some great brands out there that could benefit from attaching Twitter to their fragrances. In the meantime someone should give Ice-T a call so he can smack the hell out of the faux gangsters in this video.


* A day after this story was posted, the Twitter account attributed to Christopher Walken ( was suspended with the following message: "Sorry, the account you were headed to has been suspended due to strange activity. Mosey along now, nothing to see here." Technical abuse of Twitter is one of many possible reasons that the account was closed.

The March 27, 2009 edition of The New York Times reported that there are ghostwriters masquerading as celebrities on Twitter, coining the term "ghost-Twitterer" in Twitspeak. If a Twitterer is a fraud, as CNET's Caroline McCarthy reports with regard to the Walken Twitter referenced in this post, Glass Petal Smoke suggests the term "Twidentity Theft" be added to Twitspeak.