Burnt rubber is the scent loved only by NASCAR drivers, fans and tire companies. In a print effort promoting its NASCAR Hot Pass product, DirecTV gives readers a firsthand whiff of the overpowering aroma that envelops drivers throughout a race. And it's not hot dogs and beer.
The four-page ad begins with an image of a racetrack, nary a car in sight, and a crowded stand of fans along with the copy, "See what they see."
"Hear what they hear," begins the next page, featuring a bird's-eye view of the inner workings of pit row and alluding to the countless noises heard on the track.
A scratch-and-sniff box found on the next page under a row of racecars smells like rubber. Namely, tire rubber. "Even smell what they smell," says the copy.
The ad ran in Sports Illustrated and ESPN The Magazine as a 4-page insert and served as a cover wrap for NASCAR Scene. Deutsch Los Angeles created the campaign and Deutsch New York handled the media buy.
I would have loved to experience the ad in its cover wrap or insert form, to see if the magazine took on the rubbery smell of the ad.
The insert was sent to me as a standalone in plastic packaging, and when I opened the package, boy did I get a scent of rubber. And this was before I scratched the actual box.
Don't get me wrong; I love the concept of bringing the smell of a product or an event directly to a person's fingertips -- but this isn't a baseball game, for example, where the scent of hot dogs, peanuts and beer can elicit a pleasant Pavlovian response.
I'd like to hope, however, that the magazine insert and cover wrap was less overpowering for readers than it was for me. Yes, the ad ran in male-centric sport publications -- but not every woman who reads Elle or Vogue necessarily appreciates the aroma of 10 perfume sample inserts marinating together, either.
Then again, it's an aroma one doesn't find in the pages of magazines every day, and it's better than smelling body sweat, right?