Watch Out for Scented Advertising: Can You Resist?

steak scented billboardWhen the country's first steak-scented billboard was erected in North Carolina this summer, residents reported that it emitted a strong odor of black pepper, hickory, and smokey barbecue. Mmmm ... sounds heavenly. I don't think I could resist buying a steak, could you?

For people like me -- who follow their nose wherever it goes -- the news that scented advertising is on the rise is not necessarily good news. In other words, this steak billboard is just a taste -- or, ahem, smell -- of what the future has in store. And I can only imagine what that means for our wallets.


Scent marketing as a concept is in fact pretty brilliant -- if you're an advertiser. Capitalizing on the fact that humans associate some smells with certain events, things, or people, advertisers believe they can lure consumers to a product by triggering a pleasant memory through the sense of smell. Thus, the rich, meaty, barbecue odor -- because who (well, besides vegetarians of course) can ignore an aromatic grilled steak?

The steak-scented billboard above isn't the only ad to utilize this new aroma technology. An office store in Australia is attempting to see if a coffee scent will attract customers to its location. And, an ice cream chain in Florida, Emack and Bolio's, is using a waffle cone-scented billboard to attract customers to its store.

As a consumer, you can see how scent marketing has the potential to be very, very dangerous. I shudder to think what would happen to my wallet if the smell of chocolate was pumped through the mall.

What do you think about scent marketing: Brilliant or tricky? Which smell would drive you wild?


Image via ScentAir

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