Check it Out: A Nose for Retail
At least that's what one retailer is encouraging you to do with its latest campaign. Bloom, a grocery store chain in North and South Carolina, Maryland and Virginia, has put a new twist on the traditional billboard advertisement — broadcasting the scent of a juicy grilling steak to everyone within nose-shot.
Bloom posted the billboard to help generate buzz about a new line of beef available in its stores. Motorists on River Highway in Mooresville, N.C., were greeted by the wafting aroma as they drove by.
To reach as broad an audience as possible, the billboard emitted the scent every day from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. It hit rush-hour traffic and gave drivers on their way home from work on empty stomachs quick dinner ideas.
The billboard system was created by ScentAir, a Charlotte, N.C.-based provider of in-store scent delivery solutions for brands and retailers. The steak smell is created using a high-powered fan that blows air over cartridges containing fragrance oil with a blend of black pepper and charcoal grilling smell.
Scent Marketing's Rise
Grocery stores like Bloom aren't the only retailers using scents to market their products to consumers. Apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F) uses a woody aroma in its stores — a combination of orange, fir resin and Brazilian rosewood, among others — to help sell clothes. In fact, A&F emits the scent on sidewalks outside its stores to draw in shoppers. A&F even bottled the perfume and now sells it under the name Fierce.
Then there's Thomas Pink, an upscale shirt retailer that scents its stores with "line-dried linen." Or Samsung, which implanted hidden devices in the ceiling of its Upper West Side Manhattan store to pump out a honeydew-like smell. The fragrance, it claims, will seduce consumers into choosing Samsung's products over those of its competitors.