Are you paying for the bottle or the contents?

I haven’t done a post for quite a while, I’ve been busy working on version 3 of my writing application Quoll Writer. I haven’t come up for air lately.

Recently I found myself in Priceline, a pharmacy come “everything else that a supermarket doesn’t sell” type of shop in Australia that brands itself as a health and beauty retailer. Sitting close to the checkouts is the women’s perfume area and being a man it’s not something I often venture too close to. Partly because I don’t wear perfume but mostly because the smell can often be overwhelming for me and I find I can barely breathe, I usually have to hold my breath walking through Myer’s beauty section.

But what struck me about the cornucopia on display is the beauty and variety of the bottles housing the perfume. They are works of art, here’s some examples (all sold by Priceline, picked at random):

The sheer diversity, imagination and creativity on display to sell smelly water boggles my mind. If I had the money I would collect these bottles just for the artistic nature of them. To see a whole display case of these masterpieces was amazing to me, but it made me wonder. Is this just marketing? These are custom made bottles, each one as different from the last, each with unique and visually stunning designs to make them stand out from a glittering crowd. So the question becomes, are you paying for the bottle or the perfume inside? Considering that many of these bottles have a celebrity name attached (see the cover image) I have to wonder how much the bottle is worth and how much is the “smelly water.” Would you buy the perfume if it had neither the name or the wonderful packaging wrapped around it?


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