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8X4 introduces Fresh Mind Effect® – unleash the power of scents

Did you know that 75% of our daily emotions are driven by scent? Reminiscing over your last summer holidays when smelling sunscreen? Or being reminded of a beloved person by a certain fragrance?

As the first in the deodorant market, 8X4 uses the power of scents and is able to add an emotional claim to functional benefits. Based on a psychophysiological study, 8X4 is now able to claim that their fragrances lead to a proven mood uplift and make consumers feel physically and emotionally refreshed. The emotional claim called the Fresh Mind Effect® will be added on pack, first for 8X4’s two new launches and with the portfolio relaunch later this year also for the whole range.

In our interview with Prof. Dr. Ralf Stürmer, Professor of Business Psychology at the FOM Hochschule für Oekonomie and Management, Wuppertal, and Co-founder of the Psyrecon Institute, which conducted the 8X4 study and Dr. Svenja Möllgaard, Innovation Director OSCAR&PAUL, will provide further insights on this new claim support.

Dr. Svenja Möllgaard, Innovation Director OSCAR&PAUL

Svenja, let me ask you, how did the whole idea of emotional claiming for 8X4 develop?

Dr. Svenja Möllgaard: From a scientific perspective, it is highly exciting to engage with scents and the physiological background of what exactly happens when we smell something. From an evolutional standpoint the human sense of smelling evolved before the sense of hearing or vision and is neither controllable nor can it be turned off. It protects us from spoiled food, gas or fire, influences our partner choice and is closely linked to our emotions and memories. That is the reason why we at Beiersdorf have our own R&D department dedicated to exploring scents and their effects.

Based on the latest research findings, our aim was to develop 8X4-fragrances that can do more than masking unpleasant odors. We achieved this in an impressive manner: The exceptionally high quality 8X4-fragrances boost the mood, as scientifically proven in studies conducted by the independent institute Psyrecon.

How did the psychophysiological study that was conducted go about?

Prof. Dr. Ralf Stürmer: Within this study all participants took part in two tests: on the one hand, an 8X4 deodorant was tested, on the other hand, a corresponding control product (“placebo”) was tested. At the beginning of each test, we recorded baseline values of subjective mood and various physiological measures. This was followed by testing and evaluating deodorants. The subjective and physiological responses to the tested deodorants could then be related to the baseline values.

In detail this means that we collected a whole series of psychophysiological measures. These are physical reactions that are related to psychological processes, in our case emotional reactions to the tested deodorants. These include, for example, mimic reactions. In our case, the electrical activity of different facial muscles is observed. We also measured heart activity and sweat gland activity to be able to make statements about activation changes in the peripheral nervous system. In addition, brain activity was measured using electrodes attached to the head.

Prof. Dr. Stürmer, Professor of Business Psychology at FOM Hochschule für Oekonomie and Management, Wuppertal

What happens in the human body when we associate an emotion with a scent?

Prof. Dr. Ralf Stürmer: Olfactory stimuli are processed differently in the human brain compared to other senses such as sight or hearing. In the case of visual and acoustic stimuli, preprocessing and filtering of the stimuli take place in a structure in the brain known as the thalamus. Only then are the stimuli passed on to the brain structures responsible for emotional reactions, the “limbic system”. In the case of olfactory stimuli, this preprocessing does not take place; odors are passed “unfiltered” into the limbic system without first passing through the thalamus. This is often considered to be the reason why odors in particular trigger very complex emotional memories. In the course of life, people learn to associate certain experiences with certain odors. For example, many people have very positive memories of the specific smell of their parents’ house or the perfume that their first great love has worn.

What specific insights did you gain from the study?

Prof. Dr. Ralf Stürmer: In response to the tested deodorants, there was an improvement in subjectively perceived mood and alertness. On the physical level, for example, there was an increase in activation of the heart rate. The activity of the “smile muscle,” which pulls up the corners of the mouth when smiling, was also increased. Further the brain activity showed an acceleration of brain waves, which is characteristic of increased alertness and ability to concentrate or pay attention. We have called this effect profile of the 8X4 deodorants the Fresh Mind Effect®. It describes a mood-lifting and simultaneously activating, refreshing effect. Remarkable was the stability of the effects for all tested 8X4 deodorants, which were shown for both male and female participants.

Based on these results what are the next steps for the brand?

Dr. Svenja Möllgaard: The outstanding results make us proud, reinforce our commitment to exceptional high quality and set the benchmark for all the 8X4-products that will be introduced in the future. The world of fragrances remains captivating, and we’ll keep exploring it, so stay tuned!

Thank you both so much for this insightful interview. 

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About the editor: Hannah Schwehr

Stories about Beiersdorf’s iconic Skin Care brand NIVEA as well as the OSCAR&PAUL brands are what Hannah knows best. All product categories from NIVEA Men to NIVEA Sun sit with her in the Corporate Communications team. Furthermore, communication on brands such as Labello and 8X4 are in her realm.