Poo-pourri doesn't stink

learn from Aug 15, 2022


Have you ever used Poo-pourri? Not potpourri (the dried flowers and oils your mom and grandma used to have in bowls on the bathroom counter).

Poo-Pourri is a natural odor-eliminating spray you use before you go (to the bathroom). Founded in 2007 by Suzy Batiz in Texas, it was the solution to a problem nobody wanted to talk about. But we can learn from it.


“Girls Don’t Poop,” Poo-Pourri’s first video, went actually viral (a statement that is said more than it is done), with more than 10 million views in their first two weeks and $4 million worth of back orders. 


Also note, that to get those 10 million views, the company paid $650,000 to promote it on YouTube and Facebook. This is one of those details that often get overlooked when people talk about BIG sales numbers and virality. I believe it is an important detail so you know that people ARE spending money to make money. Ads still work.

Only to discover it is an ad for a perfume. A perfume you can’t smell or experience or even know if you would like? Even if it has one of those little paper flaps that have the scent glued in (but really?), you don’t have a concrete idea about what the perfume does.


Or maybe you have seen a sepia-toned commercial with a celebrity crossing a large ballroom, tearing off a giant necklace of diamonds while the voiceover says something about desire and love and yearning for… I can’t even remember what she’s yearning for, but it is very theatrical.


Then the cutaway to a bottle with the words PERFUME by PERFUME MAKER splashes across the screen and you think, “OoooooooKAY!”


WHY are perfume and cologne advertising so weird and yet so effective?


What can we learn from them?

What could we possibly take from these types of over-the-top photos and commercials? How can we use them to better connect with our audiences on social media?

There is NO immediate outcome that perfume provides for the buyer. It doesn’t drive them anywhere, it won’t make their hair shinier, it won’t turn on their home’s lights by voice command… it has zero result, except it smells nice.


So if it doesn’t give RESULTS, what does it give?


Perfume isn’t about the THING as much as it is an EMOTIONAL result. 


Yes, there is a commodity—you are buying a bottle of scents added to alcohol. The bottle may be so beautiful that you place it proudly on your counter or dresser top. The perfume inside may be a very charming scent.


But you aren’t buying it for the bottle or for the scent as much as you are buying it for what it PRODUCES.








You wear perfume because it marks your presence as being someone who wears a certain kind of perfume. You want to be someone who could take a necklace full of diamonds off whilst walking across a ballroom… even if you don’t really want to be someone wearing a necklace full of diamonds who walks across ballrooms.


The perfume itself promises hope and desire for who you want to be/think you are/should belong to a specific group.


So the advertising isn’t going to show off how beautiful the bottle is or what the different scents are inside the bottle which positively benefit your life… NO! They show the emotions that the perfume produces. Or the emotions you WISH the item will produce.


Perfume is never a necessity. It is always an emotion.


I can still smell a bit of Chanel No 5 on a sweater I have that belonged to my Grandmother. She wore that specific perfume her entire life. She was classy and smart and sophisticated. I have remarked on more than one occasion that I wish I had a signature perfume like she did. That someday my children and grandchildren would smell a specific scent and think of the positive attributes of my life.


That’s the product—the EMOTION.


So how do we take this EMOTION and translate it into our own messaging?


  1. Don’t try to explain WHY


We always want to talk about FEATURES!


“Our product has a 50 MPG gallon of 45-type framomatic RPDs.”


If that was confusing to you, it is because I made it up. Believe it or not, your STATS and FEATURES might as well be made up, too. Because most of your audience doesn’t care as much as you do about those things. That is not their line of work, or why they will buy your product.


“My favorite part of my body? I like my lips – for kissing”, a glamourous Scarlett Johansson says in the ad for Dolce & Gabbana’s The One


What do Scarlett’s lips have to do with perfume? Absolutely nothing.


What do her lips being her favorite part of her body have to do with YOUR emotions? More than you realize. Because you want to like your lips… for kissing. You want people to see you like they see (or YOU see) Scarlett Johansson. And YOU CAN feel the way she feels… if you buy Dolce & Gabbana’s The One.


At least, that’s what we tell ourselves.


The commercials don’t talk about why it’s different than Dolce & Gabbana’s other perfumes. They don’t mention how it took seven years to create the right formula and how thirteen hundred people tried it until it was JUST RIGHT! They don’t mention WHY they made it or WHO it’s for or HOW it should be applied.


Nope. Just sell the emotion.


And it works. Because they keep doing it. 


  1. Ads are the invitation

There are no perfume technicians in perfume ads. No behind the scenes of “here’s our team hard at work.” This is an AD, not an article.


If the goal is to make your audience want to attend your party, you have to showcase the PARTY… not the details of party planning.


Because that is your goal. Advertising and marketing are the invitations to your party. The sales happens at the party. If you suddenly got an invitation out of nowhere to a party and you have no idea who it’s for and why you were invited, would you attend?


I know that I wouldn’t. 


My time is valuable to me. I have to be thoughtful about where I spend my time. And my money. So just because I get an invitation, doesn’t mean I am going to a party.


Now, let’s say that I heard about a party so many times that my interest was piqued. It was a highly-sought-after party. People I knew were going to the party. There would be a lot of value for me to go to this party. People LIKE ME were going to be AT THE PARTY.


And then I finally get that invitation that makes me RSVP with a YES! I WILL ATTEND! In all caps, no less.


On the other hand, if I had to hear all about the party planning and the catering that fell through and the DJ choices and how many different venues were considered… I would not be nearly as excited to attend. I don’t need to hear about all the details because I have heard WHAT AN AMAZING PARTY IT IS and I want to be on the list.


Then I buy.


Perfume advertisements are ONLY invitations to bizarre and amazing parties.


  1. Hit one of the major SALES success tracks

I used to work at a marketing agency where we joked that we should make shirts that say,


Get Paid

Get Laid

Lose Weight

… ask me how




Sure, maybe a little.




I mean, we thought so.


Because the three easiest tracks to a successful product are: MAKE MONEY, LOOK ATTRACTIVE, and SEX. All which go back to actually one thing which is: BE LOVED.


Isn’t that crazy when you think about it? The stories we tell ourselves for why we buy things all come back to belonging and love.


We all want to be loved.


Audrey Hepburn said: “We all want to be loved, don't we? Everyone looks for a way of finding love. It's a constant search for affection in every walk of life.”


Of course, we also are motivated to buy when we feel fear, happiness, sadness, hope, and anger. But the driving force of CONNECTION and being loved cannot be overlooked.


Whether it makes you uncomfortable or not, sex is connection and feeling that we are loved. And yes, sex sells.


This is not to suggest that you start using your social media account to make your product or service sexier. Rather, understand what the emotion and desire is of your audience. What will get them closer to connection and feel seen/important/loved? 


Maybe you are a tax service and if your audience hires you, they will have more time to spend eating dinner with their family and going for walks at night. Connection!


If you are a realtor, your customer will not have to worry about confusing real estate terms, if the schools are good, or if the kitchen sink leaks… you will take care of all of that so that all they have to do is make memories in the RIGHT home for THEIR family. It’s an emotional process all about connection and you will be there to worry about the technical details so they can focus on the feelings.


How about if you sell knit hats for babies, but also for adults, too? Your audience wants the best for their baby so of course they would keep them covered up, safe, and wrapped in the finest materials. Your hats show the world that baby is being taken care of. “The cold and germs will stay away from your precious baby in HAT NAME!” And then a picture of an adult in the hat saying, “We want to be warm and stylish like our sweet babies, too!”


People like us wear hats like this because we love our babies and care about our health.


But also, we are really cute, right?


Of course. We want to look attractive even in cold weather. And our babies are cute, too. 


Yes, perfume commercials are bizarre and over-the-top. But there is a lot we can learn from them. Realize that your marketing and social media pages are INVITATIONS to the party, not FAQ pages all about YOU, YOU, YOU! It’s a way to entice your audience into wanting to come to the party—and eventually buy from you.

“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make but about the stories you tell.” Seth Godin