Published on: April 2, 2014by Kate McMahon
"Kate's Take" is brought to you by Wholesome Sweeteners, Making The World a Sweeter Place.
Imagine waking up to the sound and smell of sizzling bacon, only to realize it is just your iPhone alarm. Brilliant marketing ploy, or cruel hoax?
Bacon lovers are engaged in a spirited social media debate over the Oscar Mayer Wake Up and Smell the Bacon app and device -- which do just that. Smartphone apps that jolt you from slumber with innovative (or down-right annoying) sounds are not new. But the scent-emitting device paired with the app is.
Alas, the only way to sample this new technology is by entering the Wake Up and Smell the Bacon online contest, which runs through Friday. It is the latest feature on the witty, creative Oscar Mayer Institute for the Advancement of Bacon site. Contestants must answer two bacon-related questions and then proclaim their love for the cured pork slices in just three words.
We’re not kidding.
Here’s how it will work if you get the device: : You download the free iOS alarm app, plug the detachable dongle into the headphone jack of your iPhone, and set the alarm. At the appointed time, the alarm sounds the sizzle and the dongle emits puffs of bacon scent. There is even a small vial of bacon scent liquid to refill the device.
In a test at MNB headquarters (Oscar Mayer was kind enough to send us a sample device), we found the scent to be appropriately subtle, and not a blast of sodium nitrite as we feared. The sizzle was just that, along with a mellifluous male voice opining about bacon in “baconisms.”
More than 148,000 entries have been received since the contest began March 6, and Oscar Mayer plans to distribute 4,700 devices to the lucky winners. The contest has prompted more than 50,000 likes on Facebook, and thousands more shares and comments on Facebook and Twitter. The YouTube video, featuring a sultry woman in a bacon fantasy dream, has almost 600,000 views.
A la the Obamacare website, there are complaints on the Wake Up site about difficulty entering the contest, and more still from disgruntled consumers who did not win or did not have a compatible Apple/IOS smartphone.
But most compelling is the ultimate question from those who take their bacon seriously. Wrote one: “Ground breaking technology but what's the point in waking to bacon smell if there’s no bacon to eat?”
This post summed up many comments: “Seems like the greatest idea of all time until you wake up to the smell of delicious bacon only to find there is no bacon to eat. Inspiring and heartbreaking all in one.”
One enthusiast wrote that the app should “give me enough drive to get the real bacon cooking” but others feared “nothing but disappointment at 6 a.m.”
Luckily, anyone can get the sizzle sound and profound “baconisms,” and more than 57,000 fans have already downloaded the free app from the iTunes store.
There has been no word of the devices being sold to the public anytime soon. But Oscar Mayer has proved what can happen when a 133-year-old company embraces cutting edge technology to connect with its consumer base – great engagement and brand awareness. Not to mention collecting the names and email addresses of 200,000-plus passionate devotees – now that’s bringing home the bacon.
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- KC's View: