Smelly Billboards 

Adweek reported on an effort by McDonald’s in Amsterdam where they put a plain yellow or red billboard that gave off the smell of French fries. They actually designed a compartment that would heat fries and blow the smell of them out into the street. It did catch people’s attention. 

It was based on the idea that you can walk past a billboard without looking at it, but it is harder to not smell something. They placed the scent advertisements close to McDonald’s establishments so people could satisfy their smell induced craving. 

How Do You Feel About Smell Advertising? 

I’m not sure I want all of my senses being manipulated to get into my wallet. On the other hand, I would prefer the smell of French fries over some of the aromas you can catch of whiff of walking through a big city. 

This brings up another thought. Not every company would benefit from this kind of advertising. A plumbing business could certainly send out some stink that reminds you of what they do, but it may not be welcome. 

Not That New of an Idea 

McDonald’s is not the first to think of this. Many restaurants intentionally blow the smell of their food into the air. If you have been to the fair or a theme park, you can smell the tasty food way before you get to the actual place where they sell it. 

Disney uses smells in some of their virtual rides. I remember riding the Soaring over California ride and smelling fresh fields. They use scents to create an atmosphere at different parts of the park. 

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Who knows, before long you may be driving the highways of Utah, and each town will have their own smell. You won’t look for signs of upcoming fast-food places, you’ll smell for them. We’ll all be sticking our heads out the window like the dogs like to do. 

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