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Dunkin' Donuts experiments with 'smell-vertising' in South Korea

Dunkin' Donuts experiments with 'smell-vertising' in South Korea

Posting in Technology

Commuters in Seoul, South Korea may have started experiencing some mysterious coffee cravings.

Today's consumers have become particularly adept at tuning out advertisements. We hit fast-forward when its time for commercial breaks, avert our eyes away from gigantic billboards and flip right past glossy spreads in magazines.

Advertisers for Dunkin' Donuts, however, may have figured out a way to make sure their messages are being heard--or at least smelled--loud and clear.

Earlier this year in Seoul, South Korea, the donut chain embarked on an ad campaign in which unsuspecting commuters were hit with a whiff of Dunkin' Donuts coffee while riding the bus to work. After stepping off the bus, the riders were met a large poster for the shop and a conveniently located store only a few steps away.

To deliver the aroma, engineers for the store's marketing agency, Cheil Worldwide, created a machine that would instantly serve up a spritz of coffee aroma upon hearing the chain's jingle. The spray, known as "Flavor Radio," was dispensed through devices that look much like at-home air-fresheners.

For Dunkin' Donuts, olfactory advertising seems to have been quite the success in South Korea, where people often equate the brand with donuts rather than coffee. According to the company, the coffee fumes reached the noses of about 350,000 commuters over the course of the months-long campaign. After the testing, Dunkin' Donuts reported a 16 percent increase in visitors to stores near bus stops and a 29 percent increase in coffee sales.

What do you think about impossible-to-ignore "smell-vertising" technology?

[via The Atlantic via BostInno]

Image: Paul Downey/Flickr, Video: Cheil Worldwide

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Sarah Korones

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Sarah Korones is a freelance writer based in New York. She has written for Psychology Today and Boston's Weekly Dig. She holds a degree from Tufts University. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure