Little Trees were created in 1952 by Julius Sämaan, a perfumer and chemist. Since its creation, the original Little Trees air freshener has become ubiquitous in the vehicle air care category. It’s hard to find a gas station, car wash or rest stop that doesn’t sell them, and they can be spotted in countless movies and TV shows.
However, despite the fact that the Little Trees brand is iconic, the air care category is crowded. Brands such as Febreze, Yankee Candle and Glade have expanded their product lines from home-use air care products into vehicle care, and their fans have followed. These brands focus on maintaining freshness, or using fragrance to evoke a certain feeling or as an expression of style. But none of them have the same distinctive look, nostalgia, or variety of scents as Little Trees.
The classic evergreen tree shape of the original product is easily recognizable to consumers, but few are able to name the Little Trees brand unaided. Only 7 percent of survey respondents who were shown a Little Tree with the brand name blocked out were able to name the brand.
Air fresheners are divisive and Little Trees are no exception. Survey respondents described the brand as “harsh,” “strong,” “overpowering,” “astringent,” “stinky,” and “overbearing.” And yet, Little Trees fans can’t get enough. They wish the scent lasted longer and didn’t lose its fresh-out-of-the-wrapper intensity. Peruse online reviews and you’ll find countless tales of how Little Trees “saved their life” right before a date, made a stinky truck smell better, or made them forget about the current state of politics in the U.S.
Little Trees are intense, and their fans like them that way.
Little Trees are strong. Like drugs.