Smell A Memory / J. Walter Thompson Singapore
The target audience was new: people with memory loss caused by Alzheimer's and dementia.
Givaudan is the world's leading fragrance house. They create scents that go into everything from perfumes and shampoos to floor cleaners. To enhance their corporate image they now wanted to apply their skill sets to do some good.
Our sense of smell is one of our most visceral instincts. It has an instant and powerful connection to memories, especially emotional memories. Alzheimer's and memory loss, caused by dementia, affect 35.6 million people. What if we could use smells to evoke memories in people suffering from Alzheimer's? Could they perhaps 'smell a memory'?
We created the 'Smell A Memory' kit – a therapy kit that is personalized and custom-created for individual patients. Based on each patient's family history, ethnicity, age and personal stories. Givaudan's perfumers, in consultation with therapists and rehabilitation experts, tailor-made and bottled unique smells such as Bedtime Stories, Kampong Grass, Seaside, My First Pencil and so on... all with the express purpose of evoking memories. Thus getting reclusive disconnected patients to react and connect again.
The Smell A Memory kit is a ground-breaking idea. While aromas are used to uplift moods in therapy, this is perhaps the first time smells are being used to evoke emotional memories. We had multiple therapy sessions with good reactions from the patients. The scents recalled stories and incidents from their past, provoking conversations. Overall, there was increased interaction from previously disconnected patients.
We are currently in talks with doctors and occupational therapists at Singapore's leading psychiatric facility and one of the country's largest hospitals to do more extensive trials. Givadaun plans to roll out the idea globally by developing specialized kits for UK, France and Brazil.