Selfridges sparks sensory overload in personalised Fragrance Lab experience

How would you like to go on "a journey to explore the outer reaches of scent, to discover the essence of one's self"? As described by its creators, Fragrance Lab at Selfridges is indulgent retail at its hedonistic best.


Starting off in the stark surroundings of a doctor’s waiting-room-style reception in Selfridges’ Wonder Room, you answer a series of questions relating to your perceptions of shape and colour - confused by what conclusions the Rorschach-esque questionnaire is drawing from your choice.

With a disembodied voice as your guide, you are then led through a series of "sensorial chambers".

Taking deep breaths of fusty-smelling drawers; staring at your reflection in a darkened room; sniffing old books, jars and coffee beans in test tubes; then taking one "meaningful" object from a room filled with bric-a-brac, the experience is designed to heighten the olfactory senses as you move through the rooms.

The final room is in the corner window of Selfridges. And with the public hurrying past, a man in a white coat meets you to pull together your final personal preferences and "prescribe your individualised fragrance".

According to The Future Laboratory: "What lies behind the seemingly simple experience is a complex matrix, four years in the making, that involves new methods of choice architecture and customer segmentation, allowing the experience to match the right product to the right customer.

"Within each stage there are different objectives and touchpoints used to create an immersive and sensorially engaging experience, but throughout there is a consistent narrative that seamlessly captures data to inform the creation and prescription of an individualised fragrance."

It will run at the London store until the end of June.

Brand: Fragrance Lab at Selfridges

Agencies: The Future Laboratory and Campaign Design

Creatives: Chris Sanderson, Kirsty Minns (co-founder and creative director respectively, at The Future Laboratory) and Philip Handford (creative director at Campaign Design)

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