All de Parfums, All de Toilettes: Why Uninformative Names Work Magnificently for Luxury Perfumes

Proceedings of ‏The 3rd International Conference on Advanced Research in Social Sciences

Year: 2021


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All de Parfums, All de Toilettes: Why Uninformative Names Work Magnificently for Luxury Perfumes

Geunyoung Kim



This study explains the consistent product-naming trend in the luxury perfume industry and whether abstract product names better appeal to target consumers. In this study, adult participants (N = 280) were first asked to fill out a questionnaire with 20 questions. Each question suggested two imaginary perfumes and participants were asked which one they would buy. The two perfumes in each question were identical except for their names that vary in level of obscurity. For instance, Option A would be named Pure Lust while Option B would be named Bergamot, Ylang Ylang & Frankincense. In this case, Option A’s name is less informative than that of Option B that enumerates the essential oils used for the perfume. Hence, the name of Option A is relatively abstract. In order to prevent response bias, no perfume was suggestive of any existing product. As a result, the 280 participants chose abstractly named perfumes for 14.74 questions on average (x̄: 14.742). Additionally, 238 participants (85%) leaned to abstractly named perfumes by selecting them for more than 10 questions. In a subsequent survey asking what characteristic makes perfume names attractive, participants submitted short answers where keywords “brief”, “impressive”, and “dreamy” most frequently appeared. The result demonstrates that abstract perfume names elicit higher potential perfume sales and draw more consumer attention. This finding provides insight into consumer behavior specific to luxuries and unconscious obedience towards vague product names. Luxury perfume brands can apply the name-building guidelines included in this study to product development and marketing.

Keywords: consumer behavior; fragrance; high-end; marketing strategy; survey.