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Just Follow Your Nose!

By: Rick Ruffolo
Posted: November 1, 2011, from the November 2011 issue of GCI Magazine.

page 3 of 6

All kidding aside, Hollywood and the entertainment industry were early adopters in the use of scent, starting with the smell of buttered popcorn in movie theaters. Disney World has mastered integrating all of our senses into the experiences it provides, and its use of scent in its theme park rides/theaters is notable—flying over fragrant orange groves in Disney’s virtual flying experience “Soaring,” a playful stink bug in A Bug’s Life, the smell of sweet honey in the Winnie the Pooh ride. In each case, scent is integrated into the experience to help convince your brain (and your heart) that what you’re experiencing is the real thing.

Ever since Toucan Sam entered the scene in Froot Loops TV commercials in the 1970s, I have been fond of quoting his sage advice: “Follow Your Nose … It Always Knows!” This is not simply a matter of being hungry for Auntie Anne’s Pretzels or Cinnabon rolls when walking through an airport, and it also is not just about tracking changes in electrical impulses in the brain when consumers are exposed to specific scents. Branding through fragrance is about solidifying an emotional connection with consumers—the ever-elusive objective for any brand marketer.

The Opportunity is Right In Front of Your Nose

Since scents, or aromas, influence taste perception by more than 80%, it clearly makes sense that food marketers have long experimented and continue to invest heavily into scent marketing.

This also is true of perfume/fine fragrance brands, where eliciting positive emotions through fragrance are the higher-order selling benefit. However, what about everyone else?

No longer content to just help spur a consumer’s appetite for food or to cover up unpleasant odors in public bathrooms, scent marketing can be found all around us—whether you are buying a new car at a Fiat dealership, gaming at the casinos in Vegas, staying at a Westin hotel, or walking through the mall past stores such as Crabtree & Evelyn, Apple, Abercrombie & Fitch, Lush and The Body Shop.