branding, identities and aromas
What would Chanel be if not the associated with the swooning effects of No.5? Why not use the aroma of Honey nut Cheerios to brand the urban condition of Buffalo? And why not concoct a scent that refashions the aroma of a fresh and new Mac laptop?
Recently in Seoul, South Korea, Dunkin Donuts has clouded city buses with the stench of coffee; the marketing division of the company has introduced coffee fragrance-dispensers in the city’s public transport. The designers orchestrated a system where radios playing the Dunkin Donuts jingle would simultaneously perfume the bus with the fragrance of coffee. Funnily, this campaign was successful in attracting customers. Megan Graber writes,
What’s fascinating is that, after the commuters were subjected to the olfactory factor, they were much more likely to frequent, Dunkin’ Donuts says, a Dunkin’ Donuts store. Over the course of the campaign, more than 350,000 people “experienced” the ad, Cheil estimates – and sales at Dunkin’ establishments located near bus stops increased 29 percent. The sound-scent combination – the synaesthetic approach to advertising – seemed to be, in this case, effective.
The use of scent for branding is not new. It permeates spaces and attracts humans via an ephemeral and invisible trail. Since the late 80s, marketers have been using scent as a tactic to seduce, attract, arrest and assault potential customers. Take, for example, the robot-like humans that assault you with a fragrance or repeatedly gesture and voice the introduction of a new perfume. Or the smell of popcorn at the cinema, or how hotels use lavender aromas for relaxed defecations, or how the smell of Oud is used as a flirting mechanism in the Khaleeji Gulf.
Scent too, can indulge in nostalgia and preserve smells that we don’t want to let go of like the vanillaic lignin of paper and books. Karl Lagerfeld and the magazine Wallpaper have already produced a eulogic fragrance that smells like paper named Paper Passion.
To capitalize on the use of scent and identity seems to be the forthcoming future of branding. Like its acoustic and visual analogs, it is already becoming virtualized and roboticized, making it the last frontier.
So, will our futured conversations with Siri start by squirting us with the smells of places, people and brands? Will our computers puff out smells of advertisements alongside hot air? Will our TV’s do the same? Will magazines soon encompass perfume samples of Burger King, Subway, and McDonald’s? Will Dubai Glade-ify its seas to smell like the sea breeze of the Mediterranean?
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