Saturday, February 18, 2012

Different Perceptions: How Advertisers Want Women To Think Men Perceive Us vs. How We Are Actually Perceived

Yesterday I went to Frost's Book Store in Salt Lake City, as Richard Frost, the owner, had agreed to try selling Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire in the store.  And indeed, I was most pleased with his interest in and response to the book itself.  It was most gratifying to have him go through it, making various comments loudly and drawing the attention of everyone in his small store.  What a nice guy.  :)
But there was a moment when I first walked into the store that inspired the title for this morning's post.  As I had the day off after the torture of parent-teacher conferences, I had washed my hair (rather a project, considering the length of my hair) about an hour before going to the store -- and the scent of conditioner may still have been lingering about me.  Plus, just before getting in the car, I had rubbed a little lotion on my hands: Bath and Body Works Midnight Pomegranate, to be specific.
I walked into Frost's and up to the counter.  Richard stood up to greet me, as he knew I was bringing copies of Half-Vampire, and he was curious to see what one of his most long-time customers had written and published.  And suddenly, he said the oddest thing to me.  "You smell good."
Completely unaccustomed to having men compliment anything about me except my intelligence, I was more than surprised.  I took a step back initially, but then stretched out an arm for Richard to sniff at the back of my hand.  "Is it this?"  I asked him.
He agreed that it was, and I apologized for the strength of the smell -- for no one should be able to smell lotion from three feet away.  He acknowledged that if I'd just put it on, it was understandable that it was so strong.
Now, here's where the funny part comes in.
See, the folks at B&B Works advertise this scent as silky, brooding, and sexy.  Just look at the design on the tube of cream; it has deep purple flowery images, suggesting night and, hence, sex.
Now, I know better than to think that that was the image I was conjuring up for anyone.  I could only imagine that I was merely portraying the woman-wearing-too-much-scent image.  But Richard's response proved that both my concerns and all the research and development B& B Works has put into the product to be wrong.
"It smells good," he said.  "It makes me think of Sweet Tarts."
Somehow, I don't think that children's candy matches the seductive image the company had in mind for the product.  There is nothing sexy about Sweet Tarts.
Fortunately, his honest remark made me feel a lot better about my overly-scented hands, and I stopped stressing about them.  (But I'll make sure not to put that stuff on immediately before going anywhere ever again.)


  1. I buy the bath and body works foaming soaps for the bathroom and the kitchen. I love them. But that's about it.

    1. Oh, I like their products. But the scents are a bit strong, so I usually do remember to put them on at least 20 minutes before I'm around people.

  2. Replies
    1. I don't. But I still thought this was funny. :)