Scented advertisements take off

To engage young consumers in today’s crowded market, brands are getting creative with interactive advertising. From edible ads to ones that emit sounds, brands are tapping into multiple senses to best capture people’s attention. Lately, scented advertisements are standing out, reflective of a larger emphasis on scent across the board in culture.


To expose passersby to the fragrance of its new pink Beefeater London Dry Gin and ease the smell of the London Underground, the Pernod Ricard-owned brand placed strawberry-scented posters throughout the Oxford Circus Tube station. For two weeks this past May, colorful advertisements filled corridors and the escalator, brightening up the station and providing relief on people’s commutes. As there’s no shortage of pink alcohol available nowadays, Beefeater London Dry Gin demonstrated that it’s not the drink’s color alone that’s noteworthy, but also its aroma—and of course its taste.


While photos of food alone can make people’s mouth water, the smell of food further stimulates their senses. This past April, HarperCollins appealed to people’s eyes and nose to promote the first cookbook from online vegan cooking duo BOSH! The publishing giant placed a poster of chocolate fudge cake on a bus stop shelter at London Tottenham Court Road, inviting passersby to stop and smell the decadent dessert by getting up close to the ad. Not only did the aroma induce hunger, but it also made the street smell sweeter and boosted awareness of the release. According to Nielsen BookScan, BOSH! is the fastest-selling cookbook of 2018.


This past fall, News Corp Australia scented each of its six capital city publications, including the print editions of The Daily TelegraphThe Courier-Mail, and the Herald Sun, with popcorn to promote a DreamWorks DVD collection aimed at families. Specialized scenting technology was applied to more than 800,000 newspapers, surprising readers with the aroma of the beloved movie snack and drawing them into a page advertisement promoting the films. To entice people to purchase the publications, News Corp also filmed the papers being printed, scented, distributed, and sold, to show off the behind-the-scenes process.