The Nose Knows What It Wants: McDonald's OOH Campaign

Whether they’re lovin’ it or not, pedestrians in the Netherlands recently experienced the scent of McDonald’s fries, despite not being actually IN a McDonald’s.

TBWA\NEBOKO set out to prove that the scent of McDonald’s French Fries was as recognizable as the brand’s logo or jingle. The recently created outdoor campaign for McDonald’s Netherlands was thus comprised completely of smell.

Using zero branding or other visual cues (besides the brand’s trademark red and yellow shades), the eye-level outdoor boards in Utrecht and Leiden at first appear to be totally blank. But as passers-by come within five meters (about 16 feet for us Americans) of the boards, they are greeted with the distinct aroma of McDonald's French fries, emitting from within the board itself. Inside the board are fresh French Fries, emitting the signature scent through a ventilation system that pushes the smell out of holes in the billboard itself.



“McDonald’s is all about good times,” said Stijn Mentrop-Huliselan, CMO McDonald’s Netherlands in a release. “We are well known for our distinctive brand assets that are mostly visual. Smell has been proven to be more effective at sparking clear and emotional memories than images. With the inclusion of this next sense in our advertising, we found a new way to remind people of good times at McDonald’s.”

A video of the boards’ production, execution and consumer reaction is viewable here. It shows that the smell of McDonald’s fries is so ubiquitous, customers ID them immediately by scent alone, sans any branding. A voiceover says, “People could look away, but they couldn’t smell away” and claims this is the “first billboard where the smell is the ad.” The billboards were placed within 200 meters (656 feet) of McDonald's restaurants, enabling those positively triggered by the boards to easily fulfill their cravings.

Next story loading loading..