Writing an essay for Scentury magazine about the communication of scents.
Client: Scentury magazine
Idea and story: Julia Ahtijainen
COMMUNICATION IS A WEIRD FIELD…
A friend of mine, who hopes that one day I change my field and stop wasting my talent and time, recently wrote, “I was thinking the other day that I really don’t like any perfume per se. All of them are just too damn strong. If they are supposed to enhance the person, they should never overpower them, but it seems that they always do. It’s like putting lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.”
My friend articulated pretty clearly how I sometimes feel about my job. Communications in general is a weird field. It’s something in between politics (one has to always be polite and politically correct), babysitting (taking care of the journalists and explaining multiple times the importance of social media and press gifts to the owners or creators of brands), and style (you kind of need to look, sound, and be an extension of a brand so you don’t lose loyalty points on both sides of the business).
And then, how do you measure the results of these three roles? The blood, sweat, and tears one invests in a couple of nice, sometimes forced, words and meetings? The time that’s been wasted or invested?
Getting back to the expression my friend used, I’m not a pig and don’t really like lipstick. Unfortunately for my field, I’m a pretty honest and direct lady. And I don’t like pigs or eating pork, unless it’s the obligatory taste of prosciutto crudo during a celebratory night out with my Italian friends.
“Pig” is a word that smells. It’s a word that has multiple meanings, is heavy in many cultures, and even banned within some religions. In his book L’Onesto Porco, which translates to “honest pig,” Italian historian Roberto Finzi explains the meaning of pig from a cultural, religious, and linguistic point of view. Funnily in Italian, the worst curse words always begin with the word “porco,” which also means “dirty.” Although the smell of the meat isn’t always delightful and despite the growing trend of vegetarianism, most people in the world still eat pork.
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