Sunday, August 13, 2006

Smiley - the antidepressant perfume

In Selfriges on Saturday some PVC-clad blondes dressed as nurses caught my eye. They were brand communicators for a new perfume by the name of Smiley. It's from designer Ora Ito, and claims to be the world's first antidepressant perfume. Unfortunately I didn't sniff any - I was in a good enough mood from having played with Apple's distorting webcam software that had friends and I in fits (think hall of mirrors).

This is the blurb from the official website:

Prescription free happiness, now available?! Smiley offers a unisex and universal range of products with micro-nutrients to activate happiness! Its secret: the formula is based on natural bio-chemistry combining theobromine with phenylethylamine derived from pure cocoa extract. This psycho stimulant cocktail is available in a whole range of preparations using galenical pharmacology. A 100% medical look for a unique therapy, the range is revealed out of the confined box of the luxury perfume industry! This antidepressant remedy is to be consumed without any moderation: in the shower, in the bath, for specific use anytime you wish! The formulae are preserved in exclusive perfume bottles developed by the prestigious glassmaking techniques of Saint-Gobain and desinged by Ora-Ito, the most sought after designer of his generation. Nothing like it to contain the happy therapy!

Medicine has never been so fashionable since the demise of Damien Hirst's The Pharmacy restaurant. Frankly, it seems a little bizarre, stigmatising itself somewhat by making its purchasers appear depressed. What do we think?


Giskin said...

It's a fascinating concept, really telling of our times in which happiness has become even more of a holy grail. I note that it's marketed at making the wearer feel happy rather than the 'sniffer' as it were. Interesting to see Galen making a comeback ('Galenic pharmacology'), presumably as a metaphor for balancing humors. I'm not convinced they've got the branding quite right. The juxtaposition of the 'yoof culture' smiley and the pharmaceutical-type packaging (see here) make it strongly reminiscent of antihistamine cream (for me anyway!).

Ghost Writer said...

Well, what do you know? Happiness in a bottle. On the one hand it seems strange to sell happiness in a bottle like this. After all, what are people saying about themselves when they buy it? On the other hand, 'happiness' has always been marketed and sold. Advertising increasingly sells a lifestyle which is supposed to make us happy, not just a product to do a particular job, although perhaps this takes it a stage further. I agree with Giskin about the packaging. Perhaps I'm getting old but the music on the website seems to be aimed at a younger market.

Happystance said...

Blimey - a while back I wondered about what would be the scent of happiness for different people because smell has such a strong association with memory and moods - but I had no idea that somebody was branding a range of what appear to be happiness fragrances.

It must be very unselfish though - because unless it only works via transdermal delivery, if it is a perfume - surely it will cheer up others around you.

Giskin said...

Yes, Happystance, it will if you're non-cynical enough to believe that it works and it's not another clever ploy to gain some of our hard-earned cash!

Ed said...

I doubt this product would work. How much PEA/theobromine could one possibly absorb from a few sprays of perfume? Would it even penetrate the skin? Would it be stable in the perfume? Would it cross the blood-brain barrier? I would try this if someone gave it to me, but I wouldn't spend money on it.

Justin said...

Just saw this on the news, and upon a little chemistry research it seems to be (more or less) a combination of caffeine and speed. Okay, so not 'technically' but theobromine (found in chocolate) is only one methyl group shy of caffeine and phenylethylamine is not too far from methylphenethylamine, commonly known as speed. No wonder it makes you happy- I'd be happy too if I were simultaneously on caffeine and speed ;)

perfume tester said...

There is not an ultimate advice because everyone interprets odors in their own way, and the same fragrance can smell totally different considering type of skin, hair color, temperament and even the season of a year. There are important nuances if you do not want to seem vulgar or lacking of taste.

perfume creed said...

Choosing the right perfume can be difficult and because it is also considered an intimate gift buying the wrong perfume

can backfire on you and get you the opposite result of that which you hoped for.

The first thing you need to do is do some homework, meaning research. Look at your lady's perfume bottles, the ones that

are nearly empty will be her favorites. If there is one there that is nearly full chances are she doesn't wear it often

or doesn't like it. Hint around and ask her what types of fragrances she likes and dislikes.

Humans are very sensory oriented and our sense of smell is no different. Certain perfumes can elicit strong reactions in

both the wearer and the person reacting to the scent. Perfumes are made not only to attract but to also relax someone. If

you aren't totally sure what kind of perfume to buy you can always play it safe and get something in the aromatherapy

line. If you go this route, bear in mind that vanilla scents are considered to relax and a peppermint or lemon scent will

be more stimulating.

women perfume said...

Shopping for perfumes or personal fragrances can be a daunting task, particularly if it's for a friend or lover.

Obviously online at you cannot compare the actual scent of different fragrances. But, once you have a

fairly good idea of what you are looking for, you can compare the different offerings from different brands and vendors

very easily. So, how do you know what you are looking for? The following simple steps will narrow the search down


obsession-perfume said...

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perfume blue said...

Ah….the sweet, smell of perfume! Today's market is flooded with hundreds and hundreds of different fragrances ranging

from floral to woodsy. Most women love the smell of perfume, wearing it even when going to the grocery store. The problem

is that perfume allergy for some women, is anything but nice.

Beauty Chick said...

I don't know if I buy the happy-enhancing hype, but honestly it does smell great. I just reviewed it in more detail on my blog. Stop by!

Natasha Phillips said...

A friend of mine just bought me this scent for my birthday, as she had tried it and thought it was fabulous.

Although I am a very happy person by nature (!!), the smell of the fragrance is very pleasing - it has a warmth to it and at the same time occasionally delivers its zesty secret which usually manifests itself as a surprising mix of citrus and spice, all the while remaining very comforting and close on the skin.

The packaging does put me off buying it personally; it looks like a nazal spray (!) and as someone who prefers Serge Lutens to Smiley, I would not repurchase being more fond of essential oil based perfumes than synthetic/ chemical based ones.

Anonymous said...

Did any of you actually smell that perfume before making judgment?

It would be great to get feed back of th scent rather than the packaging. Which is far less important.

not one interesting comment, so i will go and have a spray and make my own idea.

Natasha Phillips said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Natasha Phillips said...

Hi anonymous,

If you read my post, you will see that I clearly smelled the perfume and even used it.

Whilst the smell is pleasing, it has a synthetic aftertaste so to speak and whilst not offensive in any way, is certainly not as refined or complex or even as diverse as a perfume by greats such as Lutens or even perfume makers like Miller Harris.

The packaging is too gimmicky, but if the scent were excellent, this would not matter. The impression though remains: that the scent is all about marketing and less about the love of scent.

And as someone who seeks out passion in perfume, this smell just doesn't cut it amongst the Big Boys.

Anonymous said...

I was just browsing the perfume section in a beauty store and the unusual bottle caught my eye.
Then i saw the "to activate happiness thing" that made me curious enough to spray some of it on my hand.
(good marketing indeed)
Anyway i was pleasantly surprised,i found the smell to be rich but very fresh at the same time.
It kind of reminds me of a lighter coco chanel.
I walked out of the store and after 5 mins i was still smelling my perfumed hand every couple seconds so i went back in and treated myself to the eau de parfum.
I don't think it will make me happier but i love it.

Perfumes to Buy said...

You are one of the "top" perfumistas that I would ever listen to in regards to opinions on fragrances. I learned that from many years or more on POL!

Eric said...

This is truly fascinating. I'm not a depressed person by nature, but I think everyone could use a little more happiness. I will have to check out this perfume. Very interesting. Thanks for posting!

do pheromones work said...

I agree that choosing the right perfume can be difficult because we need to considered intimate buying the wrong perfume because everyone interprets odors in their own way. :)


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Anonymous said...

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