Airport perfumes and t-shirts let consumers tell a story

We have been covering the concept of ‘storytelling’ several times before on (short recap: In our million channel world, it is the brands who tell the best stories (or even better: the brands that let consumers tell the best stories), that win. Or as puts it in their ‘Status Stories’ brief: “Expect a shift from brands telling a story, to brands helping consumers tell status-yielding stories to other consumers. What can be better for consumers hoping to tell peers an (impressive) story than to be asked for one?” 

The airline industry has always captured people’s imagination, with the jet-setting lifestyle providing a popular ‘conversation starter’. Now, a new perfume concept and a company that sells customized t-shirts are capitalizing on the storytelling trend. 

The Scent of Departure
The Scent of Departure is a new fragrance concept designed to capture the essence and spirit of cities. Each fragrance has been inspired by and created exclusively for a specific city, and comes in bottles labelled with a luggage tag with the three-letter symbol of the airports that serve them. To further add to the story, each fragrance will only be available at the duty free shops within the international airport it is named for. 

The collection starts with Munich / MUC, Vienna / VIE, Istanbul / IST, Budapest / BUD, and Frankfurt / FRA. In a nice twist, consumers can participate in the design and creation of future destination scents by filling out an online form asking them about the city they see for the collection, the perfume notes they think ought to be included and the image to put on the flacon. 

Scent souvenir
Developed by Paris-based perfume brand Histoires de Parfums, The Scent of Departure aims to let travellers bring home a scent souvenir from their trips abroad. In the company’s words: “The sense of smell is such a strong device for recollection that every city should have its own scent, which traveller can take with them to remembers their travels by.“ […] “A unique amalgam of rich raw materials reminiscent of a great city’s energy and personality, each Scent of Departure fragrance is offered a keepsake, a scent souvenir for a traveler to keep or give as a gift.”

For example, the scent of Frankfurt is described as “Fruity, sparkling, and joyful with an apple twist like an Ebbelwei savoured on the typical Römenber place. The fresh, lively and airy fragrance of a walk along Frankfurt Main riversides surrounded by magnolia and white flowers blend with the soft woody forest scents of Frankfurter Stadwald,” while Istanbul’s fragrance is “Immersed in the vibrant, breath-taking Istanbul Grand Bazaar and its clouds of scents: grapefruit, bergamot, elemi, pink pepper and sweet spices. Indulged by a rose Turkish delight with the subtle litchi and raspberry notes at the fabulous Topkapi Palace. At nightfall, be swept away with the whirling dervishes of the Blue Mosque, in a soft oriental wind of sandalwood, cinnamon and musk.” 

Starting April 2011, The Scent of Departure will retail exclusively at duty free retailer Gebr Heinemann at airports in Vienna, Budapest, Hamburg, Frankfurt and Istanbul for a price of EUR29 (50ml). The perfumes will also be complemented by additional The Scent of Departure themed merchandise. 

On a similar storytelling note, Chicago-based Hubwear since 2006 sells ‘roundtrip t-shirts’ that display a wearer’s favorite travel routes in airport codes (think JFK, AMS, MIA, HKG and so on), with the two airport codes on the front showing the outbound flight, and the return trip on the back. 

All shirts, as Hubwear likes to point out, tell a story: some routes are family vacations, some are crazy work trips, and others save long distance relationships. Hubwear also encourages customers to share their stories on its website. Hubwear’s shirts come in three classes: Economy Class (USD 25), which lets customers mix and match routes from over 20 popular airports, Business Class (USD 30), offering travel-inspired, limited-edition graphic prints, and First Class (USD 35) for fully-customized itineraries. The company also offers a line of kids t-shirts with airport codes in lowercase. 

New York-based Air Wear, meanwhile, sells a range of products that have an airport code prominately displayed along with the corresponding city name and latitude coordinates. Gear, including messenger bags, is available for every major airport (and quite a few minor ones) from Albuquerque to Zurich. 

Related articles:
Delta upcycles aircraft seat covers into fashionable bags
Finnair goes on an upcycling spree only sells toiletries in airport security-approved sizes


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