What is Scent Advertising?

Advertising With Cut Through

Marketers today go out of their way to impress their customers. From documentary-style ads that tug at the heartstrings to the extravagant setting in a fine fragrance commercial, brands are competing with one another in a race to create memorable ads that resonate with their customers, and ultimately make them buy.

Despite the many marketing tools and platforms available to marketers, it has become increasingly challenging to sell products or services to customers due to desensitisation to ads.

What’s worse? Ad blocking is on the rise and one of the biggest buyers, millennials are not responsive to ads. 

What if I told you, you could create ads that people cannot block? The answer is scent marketing.

Read More: Scent Basics: What is Scent Marketing, Scent Branding and Ambient Scent.

What is Scent Marketing?

Scent marketing, also known as olfactive marketing, is the incorporation of scent into a brand’s communication strategy in the promotion of a product or service to enhance the overall brand impact.

Due to the nature of human’s olfaction, sense of smell, scent marketing is destined to be effective.

Since smells are intrinsically linked to memories and emotions, marketers can tap into the power of scent to influence consumers’ decision making on their path to purchase.

Read More: Why Scent and Memory Are Linked.

5 Reasons Why Scented Advertising Works

1. You can’t switch off your nose like a button (except when you are sleeping)

You can turn off the TV or “Skip Ad” on YouTube if you see an ad that you do not like, or even go as far as to install “Ad Blockers” on your computer. These are conscious decisions that we make to avoid consuming ads.

On average, humans breathe 20,000 times in a day. It is so natural in us that we rarely “consciously” breathe and consider the scent we are taking in. This is because scent affects our mood and trigger memories on the subconscious level.

This gives marketers plenty of opportunities to use scent to influence the subconscious mind of consumers in making purchase decisions.

According to Gerald Zaltman, professor at Harvard Business School, 95% of purchase decision making occurs in the subconscious mind.

Learn about our Scent Advertising Solutions.

2. Reaction Triggered Subconsciously

Due to our brain anatomy, smell is closely related to memory and emotion. We never “consciously” breathe but we naturally associate a specific scent with memory. This is known as the “Proust Effect”, which is the “vivid reliving of events from the past through sensory stimuli”.

The ability of scent to transport people down the memory lane creates opportunities for marketers to use scent to allow people to reminisce in the good old days, as well as associating their brands with

However, marketers should note that scent is subjective. Scent preference is largely formed early in the childhood and is dependent on factors such as culture and gender.

Hence, it is imperative to do research so that you know how to appeal to the noses of your customers.

3. Brand Recall & Recognition

A brand with a scented logo has a 65% chance of being remembered by a customer after a year, while an unscented brand has a 50% chance of being forgotten within the first 3 months.

-Sense of Smell Institute

The use of scent in marketing does not necessarily mean making your products scented. Scent can permeate subtly in the background of a space from retail, hotels to gym to help customers relax, unwind or even focus.

Dan Ariely, author of “Predictably Irrational”, argues that “to a large degree, we get tempted not by the smell of the objects, but the smell of the place, more generally, the atmosphere associated with them.”

4. Emotional Engagement

Brand impact increased by 30% when more than one sense is engaged and by 70% when three senses are integrated into the brand message.

-Branding expert and Best-Selling Author, Martin Lindstrom

A gas pump station that experimented with scent marketing saw sales of in-store coffee increase by 300% when a scent machine releasing coffee aromas was used concurrently with a digital screen running a 15-second ad for fresh coffee.

When the scent machine was removed from the area, and the digital screen was used solely to advertise fresh coffee, sales only increased by 75-80%.

Used appropriately, scent can complement advertising to create a multi-sensory brand experience for customers as the more senses you engage, the more you sell.

5. Break Through Clutter

Consumers are used to having their eyes and ears being sold to. So much so that they are now savvy “ad blockers” who know how to tune out to information they are not interested in.

Because scent influences our mind on the subconscious level, even a subtle scent can affect mood of customers positively so that they are predisposed towards your products.

Scent marketing can be considered disruptive advertising as a pleasant smell can act as a “stopping power” to lure your customers into the store, interact more with products and linger longer to spend.

Let's Get Started With Your Scented Advertising CampaignLet's Get Started With Your Scented Advertising Campaign
Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.