After a few weeks of our 19 month old child attending Costa Rican nursery, my wife and I started noticing him smelling rather fresh (good fresh, not “fresh”) upon his return from the daycare centre. We assumed he was getting big hugs from a perfume-wearing woman at the nursery. When we asked some other parents about that great smell, we were told “that’s not perfume, that’s baby cologne!”
Apparently, babies all over Costa Rica wear Baby Magic by Mennen cologne. The before-sending-home-from-nursery-ritual:
1. Tuck uniform T-shirt into shorts (you can’t have an untucked toddler)
2. Comb hair with a tidy side-part
3. Apply baby cologne to shirt, neck and hair
From a brand perspective, it got me thinking about smells. Only music comes close in its brain imprint, but smell is by far the most powerful of the senses. Can anyone forget the smell of Johnson’s Baby Powder? Kentucky Fried Chicken? Starbucks Coffee? A Lush store?
The significance of Baby Cologne lies in the fleeting nature of babyhood. Leo is already 2 years old, and we know from our older son that they don’t stay baby-like for long. Still beautiful, more interesting, but they become different people very quickly, and they do it every day.
Imagine having that Baby Cologne association all through baby/toddlerhood, then dabbing that Baby Cologne by Mennen on them again 6 years later. The brain responds powerfully with floods of memories and emotions from those innocent days. Baby Cologne isn’t about fresh babies. It’s about time stamps and memories of a period normally only served visually by pictures and videos.
Too bad Halifax (Canada) City Council would never stand for it. They don’t let anyone (including kids at school) wear anything scented, because of allergies.