Boldly smell like no one has before

Caitlan Reeg May 7, 2009

Boldly smell like no one has before

Caitlan Reeg May 7, 2009


Renita Jablonski: The Star Trek movie opens tomorrow, and as Caitlan Carroll reports, one company is boldly going where no merchandiser has gone before.

Star Trek Announcer: These are the voyagers of the Star Ship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds.

Caitlan Carroll: And smells! The franchise loved by Trekkers and Trekkies around the world has something new for the fan with everything: perfume.

Three new scents: “Pon Farr” for the ladies, with notes of citrus. For the men, there’s “Tiberius,” hints of cedar, and “Red Shirt,” kind of musky.

John McGonigle’s runs Genki Wear, the company behind the $30 perfumes:

John McGonigle: You know, I tell people they should start out the day wearing Red Shirt, and if they make it through, you know, their job without being killed. That when they go out, they should put on Tiberius.

The names are inside jokes. Red Shirts are the anonymous crew members of the Enterprise who die in every episode. Tiberius, that’s James T. Kirk’s middle name. And Pon Farr, well that’s a Vulcan mating ritual that happens every seven years. You don’t mate? You die.

And you don’t get any this? Well then you’re really not the target audience anyway.

Gavan Fitzsimons: I had the gentleman yesterday who contacted us because he wants to wear Tiberius at his wedding, which is to be done entirely in Klingon.

Gavan Fitzsimons is a professor of marketing and psychology at Duke University:

Fitzsimons” The beauty of the Star Trek brand is that for the target customers, boy those associations are incredibly strong.

And when we buy perfume, he says what we’re really buying is the idea of who want to be.

Fitzsimons: What could be more aspirational than being James T. Kirk?

At a sci-fi convention in Los Angeles, I don’t find any Kirk Wannabees. I do find Eric Stillwell. He’s a former script coordinator for Star Trek’s Next Generation.

Eric Stillwell: I’ve been a huge Star Trek fan since I was like 12.

His vote on the Star Trek scents?

Stillwell: Yeah, it’s pretty good actually. But the cologne may actually save you from those creatures that want to suck the salt out of you or something like that.

He likes the clever packaging, too. Pon Farr’s bottle has a Vulcan-shaped blade on top. Red Shirt’s tag line? “Because Tomorrow May Never Come.”

He says the products are a galaxy away from the days when calendars came out with the Starship Enterprise flying upside-down.

In Los Angeles, I’m Caitlan Carroll for Marketplace.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.