We’re only a couple of months into a new decade and things have already got a bit weird. 

None weirder, it seems, than actress-turned-health-guru Gwyneth Paltrow launching her new range of wellness goodies on her Goop website, including a $75 candle printed with the immortal words ‘this smells like my vagina’. Thousands of them sold out in hours and there’s already a waiting list. 

In case you were wondering, the aforentioned candle smells of “geranium, citrusy bergamot and cedar absolutes juxtaposed with Damask rose and ambrette seed”. But of course you weren’t wondering what Gwyneth’s candle/vagina smells like; such a thing never even crossed your mind…until you saw the news reports or read this article. 

And therein lies the genius; Gwyneth’s candle smells exactly like a candle but the words on the label are the work of a PR mastermind who had one eye on millions of dollars’ worth of free coverage for Goop’s new collection. We collectively gasped and the press couldn’t write fast enough. 

This kind of viral marketing is the stuff of PR dreams but it’s incredibly hard to achieve in the real world. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t create traffic-stopping, disruptive brand experiences; we just need clients who are open to re-writing the rule book and trusting the creativity of their agency. 

Much as it’s comforting to brief your agency to create a brand experience that feels smooth and harmonious at every turn, sometimes we need a touch of dissonance to get noticed – a record scratch that stops customers in their tracks and compels them to find out more. It’s not easy…but it’s what we did with that headline, and you’re still here, right? 

Over the coming months we'll be lifting the lid on the secrets of successful experiential marketing and how rule-breaking creative and human understanding are a match made in creative heaven. If you really can’t wait that long, send us a fragrant message and maybe we can exchange secrets over a candle-lit dinner.