If sight and sound are not enough to appeal to potential customers, marketers might consider the sense of smell. Food marketers who hand out samples have long known about the sense of smell. Now it seems that marketers have teamed up with billboard companies to deliver delicious smells to consumers who drive by a certain billboard in North Carolina.
According to Jen Aronoff, writing for the Charlotte Observer, Food Lion wants to make sure consumers smell the odor of cooking beef during the morning and evening commute. At the same time, commuters will also see a “towering fork piercing a giant piece of meat” depicted on a billboard near a busy intersection.
The strategy was previously used in San Francisco when a marketer attempted to lure consumers with the scent of milk and cookies. But people complained about allergies and the campaign was not considered a success.
However, Jeff Golimowski, from the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, is excited about the possibilities these campaigns present. "It's another way that out-of-home advertising is adapting to new technologies." For now, technical difficulties have limited the range of the scent in the Food Lion billboard. And consumers are not always sure exactly what they are smelling or if the odor makes them want to buy steak.
But we can probably expect more marketers to experiment with this way of appealing to consumer senses.
[Source: Aronoff, Jen. Eau de marketing, with hint of pepper. CharlotteObserver.com. 3 Jun. 2010. Web. 21 Jun. 2010]