Why, though?: A CD player that doesn’t play music

Febreze Scentstories might have been a hit if it had also contained the story.

Disneyland famously uses its Smellitzers to waft the scent of baked goods conveniently near where they’re sold and to add muskiness to the Haunted Mansion.

Why, though?: A CD player that doesn’t play music

But Febreze’s attempt to create a scent journey… didn’t quite work out.

A CD player… for smells

In 2004, Procter & Gamble’s Febreze launched Scentstories: a CD player-like device that “played” CD-like discs titled with scenarios such as “wandering barefoot on the shore” and “relaxing in a hammock.”

Discs shuffled between five fragrances, taking users on an aromatic journey while preventing them from becoming numb to any one fragrance.

Except there was no journey

Febreze hired country star Shania Twain as a spokesperson. She had her own spring-themed disc with fragrances like “daffodils swaying in the breeze” and “hanging sheets on the line.”

Twain’s hire and the device’s design led some customers to believe that it’d play music and perhaps unlock new Twain tracks, per The Daily Dot.

Unfortunately, it just sounded like a fan.

“It didn’t feel like I was wandering barefoot on the shore,” one product tester told a news station. “I’m still in my place and… it really didn’t take me away anywhere.”

Procter & Gamble tried licensing the device to the Yankee Candle Co., but at ~$35 (or ~$57 today) for the device, Scentstories was far more expensive than an aerosol spray. It was discontinued in 2008.

Multisensory journeys are popular…

… from aromatherapy massages to VR companies using scent to deepen immersion. Christophe Laudamiel, the former Procter & Gamble perfumer behind Scentstories, presented his “Green Aria: A ScentOpera” at NYC’s Guggenheim Museum in 2009.

Perhaps if Scentstories had actually been able to combine scents with story, it’d have been a hit.

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