McDonald's Tries Out Scented Billboards

Remember Smell-O-Vision? It’s coming to billboards! 

McDonald’s is trying it out in the Dutch cities of Utrecht and Leiden.

“The plain red and yellow billboards don’t use a single word or image to advertise McDonald’s offerings—and they don’t need to,” according toFast Company. “Instead, the billboards pump out the aroma of warm french fries to passersby, who seem to instinctively know the scent of a McDonald’s french fry compared to any other form of fried potato.”

The fast food company details how it works in a short YouTube video, which already has 24,000 views. 



“Smell has been proven to be more effective at sparking clear and emotional memories than images,” says McDonald’s Netherlands CMO Stijn Mentrop-Huliselan. “With the inclusion of this next sense in our advertising, we found a new way to remind people of good times at McDonald's."

The billboards were created by Amsterdam-based agency TBWA\Neboko and production company Raúl&Rigel

“The billboards, which are either blank red or yellow, have a hidden compartment where the legendary fries are secretly stored,” according toFood & Wine. “Rather than being an ongoing promotion, the billboards were installed as an on-site experiment.”

A press release from the company says the billboards were "strategically placed" within 650 feet of some of its restaurants “so customers can follow the scent trail to the source,” according to theNew York Post

The promotion is just one of the unique activations the fast food stalwart is trying. 

“It also comes after news that the company has partnered with Krispy Kreme to offer its products at its stores across the US,” according to Business Insider. “The partnership is set to kick off later this year and will see Krispy Kreme donuts in stores nationwide by 2026.”

McDonald’s fries and Krispy Kreme donuts under the same roof? It’s a fast food lover’s dream — or a dieter’s nightmare. 

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