A rather odd concept broke cover this week. Some bunch of pointyheads have developed a scent that smells better the sweatier you get. Now designing scents and flavours is a highly skilled job, and people with perfect palates and olfactory globes are in short supply and very high demand. I used to have a friend who was an aroma and flavour technologist, and she made an absolute fortune.

Even those modern unisex fragrances that smell of bubblegum and Jaegermeister take a lot of time and effort. Somebody even had the task of designing Katie Price’s fragrance range, and must be feeling a bit gloomy now the range has tanked. It doesn’t take a marketing genius to predict that might have been pretty much inevitable, since most people in the world detest the pneumatic self-aggrandiser, and will do pretty much all in their power to stop her in her tracks.

This lack of foresight, or at least lack of ability to think things through, applies rather to this ‘sweatier the better’ potion. I foresee all manner of trouble here. Here are a couple of things I bet the marketing team have failed to focus on, notably the demographics of their target audience. Here are my preliminary thoughts.

Keep fit fanatics

You’re in the locker room getting changed after a workout. You’re not as fit as you’d like to be, which is why you’re there, but the sweat propelled antipong is doing its job nicely. Enter your best mate, just arriving to pump some iron.

‘Hey, you smell good.’

At this point you can lie through your teeth.

‘Yeah, well 300 reps on the cross trainer gets the blood pumping and the sweat flowing.’

300! Wow, I’m impressed!’

You shrug modestly.

Then we have the distinct possibility of reverse psychology, playing on other gym-goers’ fears of inadequacy. You enter the locker room, and somebody is already in there getting ready for a shower. You sniff suspiciously.

‘Didn’t feel like putting the effort in today, eh?’

‘I’ve got an appointment in a bit, and only had time for about 300 reps on the cross trainer…’

I also see this product rapidly becoming the most shoplifted item in area with a large population of vagrants and roughsleepers. One of the major obstacles these poor benighted people face is that they smell, and other people don’t like that. This is the answer to a maiden’s prayer. The sweatier and smellier they get, the better they smell. Boot’s and Superdrug are going to need to beef up their security.

Next up, adolescents. Adolescents of both sexes tend to have smelly feet; I can tell you from personal experience it’s not just teenage boys who have this problem. Now though, instead of paying a bit more attention to foot-related hygiene, changing socks more frequently than once a solstice, and making sure your trainer insoles have a good airing on a regular basis, squirt a generous dose of Smells Like Teen Spirit into the malodorous footwear, and lo and behold. The sweatier your trainers get, the more they smell of attar of roses.

I am mildly disturbed that the thought occurred to anybody that it would be a good idea to make a performance-related fragrance, though. I suspect the development team were out on a bended after a couple of days orienteering because some idiot in head office thinks that sort of thing is good for moral.

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