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Time has a story about how McCain Foods is “using bus-shelter ads that waft the scent of oven-baked potatoes into the air. It’s a new take on scent marketing, a world that capitalizes on the consumer’s tendency to follow his or her nose.”

The story goes on: “Using smells in advertising has been around for decades, but advances in technology will only make it easier for more companies to integrate more odors through more mediums. Stories broke last year about new smell-o-vision research being done by companies like Samsung to produce a compact add-on that could generate thousands of smells to accompany TV watching. That kind of tool could allow viewers to smell a company’s coffee while watching the tantalizing waterfall of beans.

“In short, this potato campaign may be a boon for the food company, but it may also be a harbinger of the brave, new-fangled, smelly world to come.”
KC's View:
I always think things like bus stop aromas are kind of a gimmick rather than any sort of long-term trend, though I have to concede that I’d rather smell baked potatoes or any other variety of aromas rather than some of the odors that I’ve smelled at some bus stops.

But the broader point is certainly something I agree with. I often make the point to people that in most supermarkets, if you were blindfolded, you’d have no idea you were actually in a food store - these stores are antiseptic, which means that they have given away one of their core advantages. That’s a shame.