However, marketing through smell remains a game of chance. Because the odor’s ability to trigger moods is based on memory, a scent’s power will differ from person to person. Some smell inclinations are cultural (like the American penchant for vanilla) while others are personal. An odor that’s too strong can cause negative reactions; an over-powering spicy orange scent in a Las Vegas casino actually turned customers away.
Casinos aren’t taking chances with profits, so they use fragrance to keep gamblers at the roulette table.
While the Milk Processor Board hoped the scent would make people crave milk, city officials considered the ads a nuisance and ordered them removed. The public was concerned that the chocolate cookie smells could trigger allergic reactions. Unlike the realtor’s cookies in a model home, the scent was not successful in a bus shelter. I guess the smell of fresh milk is not distinctive—but the smell of sour milk certainly is.
Still, there are plenty of scented products out there for consumers who are interested in such things. One company website offers a range of scented options including direct mail marketing; magazine/catalogue advertising; pressure sensitive fragrance labels, scented stickers, postcards and other direct mail formats; greeting cards and business cards; scented product packaging, bookmarks, bracelets, hobby craft sheets, personalized stationery, cards, scrapbooks; seasonal products for Christmas, Valentines, etc.; delivering scent in retail or hotel environments; and fragrance counter samplers and dispensers.
Obviously, our world is becoming a bit more fragrant as company decision-makers come to understand the power of scent.
Harvey M. Fishman
Harvey Fishman has a consulting firm in Wanaque, NJ, specializing in cosmetic formulations and new product ideas, offering tested finished products. He has more than 30 years of experience and has been director of research at Bonat, Nestlé LeMur and Turner Hall. He welcomes descriptive literature from suppliers and bench chemists and others in the field.