Olfactory marketing for one of the world's most famous landmarks
By Mike Hanlon
February 5, 2005
February 6, 2005 One of the more interesting developments at the Eiffel Tower in recent times has been the installation of an ice skating rink on the first level of what was once the world's tallest building in an effort to "bring Parisians back to the Eiffel Tower." In yet another case of the French recognising the importance of olfactory marketing, famous Swiss-based flavours and fragrance supplier, Givaudan was asked to develop a special scent to create "flavoured" ice for the rink. A "Vanille Givree" flavour (iced vanilla) was specifically created for the occasion, to recall the warmth of holiday cookies associated with cold winter weather and the world famous Parisian landmark now has a distinctive trademark smell to match its unique visuals.
The "Vanille Givree" flavour was specially created by Raymonde Menu, Senior Flavourist at Givaudan Paris to "broaden the scope of flavour application."
Perched 57 meters above the "Champs de Mars" on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower, the ice skating rink is the highest in Paris, and was opened to the public on December 10, 2004.
Actually, the Eiffel Tower management's decision to create an event on the first floor of the tower to increase visitor numbers was somewhat opportunistic as the early winter in late 2004 was particularly cold and ice had already formed across the first floor.
A previous promotional event in 1969 had seen a similar rink developed there, so it was decided to enhance the natural phenomenon and L'Evénement Crystal was given the project. As Givaudan had previously worked with L'Evénement Crystal's Michel Amann in creating scented ice columns and sculptures, the scent was quickly developed and decorations and promotional activities were quickly scheduled. "We decided to select the flavor of vanilla as it is a 'global and consensual' scent," said Givaudan's Joelle DIRRINGER. "We had ensure the fragrance was not polarizing. We also wanted to recreate comfort memories of warm cookies, which are a delight associated with hours spent outside in the European winter," he said.
The scent and the promotion worked a treat and became the central theme of the Christmas festivities at the landmark, with up to a thousand people per day skating high above the Paris skyline.
It's yet another fascinating chapter in the history of the famous icon which was built for the International Exhibition of Paris of 1889 commemorating the centenary of the French Revolution. Gustave Eiffel's beat out 700 entries in a design competition held to create a landmark to become synonymous with Paris. At 300 metres, it became the world's tallest building upon its completion in 1889 and holding that honour until 1930.
It could hardly have been called a universal success in the early years as public opinion nearly had the tower pulled down.