Wake up and smell the future of marketing

Can scent marketing influence shopper behaviour? Smell is often underrated as a marketing tool. Here we look at how scent marketing can drive emotional connections with shoppers.

Smell is one of the most primal senses, holding considerable influence over decision making.

It is the only sense that is directly connected to the part of the brain that processes emotion, memory and associated learning. Neuromarketing studies show that 75% of emotions are triggered by smell.

With the average person being exposed to up to 5,000 adverts a day, by tapping into smell, brands can stand out and be remembered among the clutter.

Highly memorable, 65% of consumers can recall smells after a year while visual recall is just 50% after only three months (Sense of Smell Institute).

This is supported by findings reported by Rockefeller University. In the short term we remember:

  • 1% of what we touch,
  • 2% of what we hear
  • 5% of what we see,
  • 15% of what we taste
  • 35% of what we smell

It’s not new

Scent of Mystery was the first Smell-O-Vision film with scents pumped into cinemas. Adverts promised, “First they moved (1895)! Then they talked (1927)! Now they smell!”

Technology was unsophisticated and the film flopped, but it was revived in 2015 in cinemas in Bradford and Copenhagen, and with a new experimental participatory scent track. The result has reopened the door on use of scent on screens.

Scent marketing in practice

Today many brands harness the power of scent in marketing from ambient scenting to scent on demand at the touch of a button, and scratch and sniff.

Here are some of our favourites:

  • Frozen food giant McCain installed the smell of baked potatoes to 10 bus stops across the UK as part of a campaign to engage shoppers with Ready Made Jackets.
  • Abercrombie & Fitch was one of the first brands to incorporate scent into its identity and is now renowned for piping signature scents throughout stores.
  • Head & Shoulders used Touch to Smell technology to create a scented print ad that allowed readers to sample the apple fresh aroma of its shampoo and conditioner.
  • Craghoppers enabled shoppers to experience the ‘fresh mountain air’ or ‘meadow after rain’ smell in-stores, reinforcing its brand ‘outdoors’ values.
  • New Balance incorporated the aroma of wood and leather into its store to support its heritage and craftsmanship brand values, encouraging shoppers to linger.

Get in touch if you’d like to understand more about how scent can be used to inspire your shoppers to act