Like business, brands rarely evolve in a straight line. Commodity is a fragrance brand that has had three very distinctive chapters; unusually we were involved in the final two, under very different owners. Originally launched in San Francisco through a Kick-Starter campaign, Commodity built a cult following with an anti-brand approach – as the name suggested. By the third chapter (and owner), our brief was to maintain the essence of the brand whilst evolving it to reach a much wider audience.
Commodity’s latest incarnation is one that has embraced the age-old act of storytelling around fragrance, but is doing so in an atypical and hyper-transparent way. Gone are the smoke and mirrors, lifestyle clichés and industry jargon, instead enter Commodity.TV and a radical new concept called ‘Scent Space’ and fragrance trilogies. These were central to defining a new and easier way to navigate fragrance concentration – Elemental, Ethical and Atypical, under the umbrella of ‘A Modern American Perfumery’ – true to the story, approach and expertise of the brand.
Evolving the Commodity brand meant first bringing clarity and understanding to a new concept. ‘Scent Space’ is the brand’s new classification of concentration – Personal, Expressive and Bold which formed the trilogy of each fragrance. Stripping everything back was an ‘elemental’ approach to design that allowed for the craft of production, copy and content to communicate the brand’s atypical attitude, making a range of exceptional fragrances accessible to a wider audience across territories beyond America.
The Scent Space concept sits at the heart of Commodity. ico helped us reframe the brand to articulate it whilst being be relevant and meaningful to a modern, fragrance consumer.
The challenge of being a direct-to-consumer fragrance brand is an obvious one – you can’t smell the fragrances online. We created a structured design framework in line with the brand’s principles that could accommodate a variety of content – to both educate the consumer, create desire to and communicate a wider story through a docuseries known as ‘Commodity.TV’. This was a series of videos created by the ‘re-founder’ that tells an ongoing narrative of Commodity as a brand – from ownership to launch.
Commodity relaunched in September 2021 – first on Sniffy.com and then its own brand website. The brand has already surpassed early expectations with both previous and new customers beyond the US buying or discovering their new favourite fragrance. We continue to work with the Commodity team on a variety of projects.
ico have been an exceptional creative collaborator. When I bought the brand, in part, I was buying their work. Together we’ve shaped Commodity as a distinctive fragrance brand. We’re only at the start of our journey.