Ideas Bank: Scent back in time

At Don’t Panic London we are always thinking about and developing new ideas even when we don’t have to. It’s in our make-up, our DNA. So that these inspirations don’t go to waste, we fold them up and deposit them in the “Ideas Bank”. Then every now and then we pick out a couple to show off to you guys!

Client: Cosmetics Brand

Objective: A campaign to promote the launch of a new product range, which is possibly curated/inspired by the general public.

Idea: “Scent Back in Time”

Treatment: We set up a microsite to ask people for their most cherished memories and the smells that go along with them. With enough answers, we will be able to answer some pretty important questions, as well as some great ideas for new scents: what does a summer holiday smell like? etc…


Tropical fruit, hibiscus, jasmine and magnolia smell like that paradisiacal holiday of the past …overriding the reality of being on a cramped London commuter train with it’s dependable miasma of body odour, fast food, energy drinks and lynx. 

People will be able to type in their personal memories and scents on the site, which will be entered into a word cloud; the popularity of each flavour will define the scale of the word in the image. the most popular scent will grow visually:

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 12.49.22

As part of the campaign we would also produce a film to promote this microsite.

It would be cut between three strands that follow three women of different ages (A young, middle aged and elderly women). Their busy lives are interrupted by a sudden scent that brings back a vivid memory. For instance:

Our young woman stands on a cramped and unpleasant tube. A tall redhead brushes past her and we see her breathe in deeply through her nose, a look of pleasant surprise on her face. Suddenly, she is a little girl running laughing through a field with a little boy – she wears a necklace of jasmine flowers.

We see a brief montage of the original characters smiling at the happy memory they’ve just re-lived, brought to life by a sudden evocative smell. (1)

Discussion: Smell is perhaps the most powerful sense we all share. A sudden aroma can send you hurtling back to your childhood. These are moments that everyone experience and can thus relate to. Whether the public’s input is actually used or not in curating the physical product, the microsite and accompanying film is a great way to engage people with a fragrant cosmetic range.

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