To most people, the Ford Cologne is the 4.0-liter V6 from the 2000s Explorer and Ranger. To those who attended the not-so-Alpina-friendly Goodwood Festival of Speed last weekend, however, it’s also some weird marketing stunt by Ford to sell Mustang Mach-Es. How? By reminding people of all the smells they’ll miss out on if they give up their gas cars. Okay then.
This counterintuitive campaign came as a result of a survey that determined 70 percent of drivers would, after buying an electric vehicle, miss the smell of gas, with a fifth reporting that’d be what they miss most. The smell of gas is apparently one the public finds enjoyable, ranking it up alongside the smell of new books and higher than either wine or cheese. To tie the Mach-E back to the original Mustang via scent or something, Ford commissioned fragrance consultancy Olfiction to come up with a cologne that replicates the scent of an old car with something living in it.
To do this, Olfiction’s Pia Long of the British Society of Perfumers, combined the smell of gas with benzaldehyde (an almond-like smell in interiors) and para-cresol, which is apparently a major component in the scent of a tire.
Long then enhanced the perfume’s metallic, rubbery, and smoky characteristics with a set of organic scents, specifically blue ginger, geranium, lavender, and sandalwood. She also added something described only as “animal,” presumably meaning the smell of leather or the animal it’s made from, and not the smell of wet dog.
Ford showcased the resulting fragrance last weekend at Goodwood, handing out scent-infused strips “to help dispel myths around electric cars and convince traditional car enthusiasts of the potential of electric vehicles.”
It’s hard to imagine imitating the smell of combustion-engined cars is going to help sell EVs, though it won’t do much to hinder EV adoption either. Either way, don’t get too excited, because Ford won’t be selling bottles of the stuff anyway.
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