When the Internet became a prevalent tool in people's lives, I wondered how, and if, smell would ever be combined with computing technology.
A campaign in Brazil went from online to offline in a matter of seconds, with a Web banner surfers could hold and smell.
Kaiak is a popular men's fragrance in Brazil, sold door-to-door to a lower-income demographic.
The brand made a handful of product changes and tasked ID/TBWA with crafting an online campaign that promoted the changes. When you alter a fragrance, however, it's a challenge to advertise online because the first thing a loyal consumer wants to know is how different the product smells.
And so the scented banner was born. ID/TBWA partnered with 15 LAN houses in Brazil to set up touchable Web banners. Roughly 77% of Brazilian men surf the net from LAN houses, making this partnership a no-brainer.
The agency first developed hardware that stored 50 scented banners. Each piece of hardware was then installed behind the computers inside LAN houses.
Next, a plug-in was installed in each computer that ran Kaiak's online ad atop the LAN houses' home page. "The best-selling men's fragrance in the country just changed," read the ad. "Want to try it? Click this banner. It's scented."
Once users click the banner, it begins to scroll to the right, as if it were leaving the Web page. And it was. As the banner disappeared from online view, it scrolled offline, from behind the computer monitor!
Hidden cameras captured the reactions of those who clicked the banner, not realizing they would receive a scented strip seconds later. Ten thousand scented banners were distributed in one weekend. I wonder how the inside of LAN houses smelled following this campaign?