There’s a somewhat insidious form of marketing that you may not be aware of that’s being used everyday in restaurants, hotels and retail stores. It’s not something obvious that you’ll see on their signs or advertising. They are using a powerful technique to quietly lure you in without overtly selling you anything – and the food industry is taking full advantage of this tactic. They are pulling out all the stops to tempt us with irresistible smells that are hard to resist. Whether you’re at the mall, the airport, your office break room, or walking at an amusement park…You are being manipulated by this very subtle technique…
We are being inundated with fake chemical scents designed to get us to buy!
The Hard Rock Café Hotel in Orlando pumps out artificial scents of sugar cookies and waffle cones that act as “aroma billboards” to draw people to their ice cream shop in the basement (increasing sales by 45%). The marketing company ScentAndrea attached chocolate artificially-scented strips to some vending machines in California, tripling Hershey’s sales. The Hershey’s store in Times Square uses artificial scent machines that blow the scent of chocolate into their store. Disney reportedly applies an artificial “grilled scent” to their frozen burgers to make them smell fresh, along with strategically placed scent machines in the bushes that disperse scents of cotton candy, popcorn, or caramel apples. According to the Scent Marketing Institute, when the smell of fresh baked bread was pumped into a grocery store, sales in the bakery department tripled. A grocery chain in New York (Net Cost) admittedly places scent machines that release scents of chocolate and baking bread to make customers hungry, and sales jumped.
Even subtle changes in operations can trick our noses and make a big impact on increasing food sales. For instance, Panera Bread recently moved its baking time to daytime hours so that customers smell the bread all day long and their New Haven, Connecticut location has a small “show oven” without a hood, so the smells vent into the restaurant. This is the same reason that Subway places their bread ovens up front in their restaurants, so that smell hits you when you walk in the door. Starbucks has an “aroma task force” to make sure their stores smell like coffee and not the cheese from their breakfast items.
Using scents to sell more products isn’t a new tactic by a long shot and is taken straight out of Monsanto’s playbook, as demonstrated by this vintage 1947 Monsanto ad:
“The principle of chemical attraction also defines the path to hidden sales…Used for years to contribute sales appeal to foods, candies, perfumes and cosmetics… Yes – Smells Sell! If you wish to know more about this proved sales strategy in your business, a contact with Monsanto may reward you with the right chemical answers”.