Smelling a Trend

They’re not the newest tool in a marketer’s arsenal, but they certainly are the smelliest: rubbable scent strips added to magazine ads, catalogs, and outdoor media.

Improvements in technology are pushing the capability into the limelight. Vendor sales reached just under $60 million in 2006 and could hit $500 million within 10 years, according to projections from the Scent Marketing Institute.

Success can be hard to measure for some brands, says Rick Ruffolo, senior vice president of brand, marketing, and innovation at Yankee Candle. “But we’ve exceeded our expectations with our catalog program and are exploring doing print ads.”

“The jaded consumer will force advertisers to become more creative,” says Peter Stabler, director of communications strategy at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. Goodby runs scented ads for Elizabeth Arden and handled the Got Milk? outdoor campaign.

The challenge will be restricting the amount in a single magazine issue (the current limit is five to six). But as glossies move toward customization, advertisers will be able to target scents by subscriber, Stabler predicts.

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