We’re all used to being sold an aesthetic in perfume campaigns now, whether it’s the lone rogue male, the youthful boyish dandy, the sportsman or any one of the number of composite characters perfume companies create for a new launch.

When Hugo Boss launched their fragrance Hugo back in 1995, they decided to go against the grain and introduced a fragrance onto the male market that aspired to be just a scent and nothing more. Certainly, watching the original TV spots that ran for the fragrance, you can see a distinct lack of the usual alluring imagery and citations on masculinity designed to lure men to the perfume counter. With its distinct blend of fresh aromatic notes Hugo was, and still remains, one of the most successful male scents on the market.


The central character that defined Hugo was an individual, someone who didn’t really care about what his fragrance was supposed to communicate to those around him. It was all about the confidence to just ‘be’.

The individual though must evolve and a different generation, intent on looking at everything from a new perspective, will now be catered for with the launch of Hugo Boss’s new scent, Hugo Just Different. At the recent Paris launch for Just Different the gathered press were introduced to the fragrance through a number of innovative and evocative experiences, designed to stimulate the mind as well as the remaining senses.


On the corner of Rue Montmartre and Rue de Croissant, in the scarlet glow of a nightclub, an enclosed pyramid housing a bottle of the fragrance creates a world of three-dimensional projections, which alter as you navigate the shapes glass faces. A square on a card blooms buildings as it becomes a bustling city block; a demonstration of the new augmented reality that Boss will be unveiling to coincide with the fragrance. Over a lunch featuring onion soup espressos, foie gras tiramisu and oceanic beef wellington the taste buds compete with contrasting textures and flavours, sometimes sublimely, sometimes sickeningly.

After lunch my head becomes a virtual camera as Gerd von Podewils, global director for Hugo Boss fragrance, unveils the first demonstration of a new online experience that draws participants deeper into the Just Different world through an interactive video piece that will launch on July 20th.

The current Just Different TV campaign, featuring the multi faceted actor/singer/director Jared Leto, immerses the viewer in a world of altered perspectives and lateral looks: an Escher painting in motion.


Much like the experiences at the Paris launch, it translates the fragrances blend of notes through an evocative and effective execution. Opening with a fresh mint top note, then slowly settling into a basil and freesia blended middle note, Just Different combines a number of unique raw materials in an interesting and distinctive way. Surprisingly, for a fragrance with such a fresh opening note, Just Different retains the important masculine edge of the original Hugo; the new cashmeran base note adds a more luxuriant element to the composition that allows Just Different to work well as an evening fragrance.


In a simple black ‘soft touch’ coated bottle, Just Different doesn’t waste any time on gimmicky slogans or complicated packaging, much like the originalHugo in 1995. Instead, Just Different introduces us to the Hugo male in 2011. The spirit of the original stays the same, but he’s adapting and developing to what some would call an overly complex world.

Fortunately now, for modern men who aren’t satisfied with being sold an identity, there is now a fragrance they can adopt without worry of what it says about them. In the words of the original Hugo, it’s just a scent. A new scent perfectly suited to those who see their world a little differently.