Scent Marketing – The Future of Advertising

Scent MarketingHave you heard? Or more aptly, have you smelled?? Scent marketing is the latest trend in advertising and is the new way to stand apart from the barrage of visual and audio marketing.

Adding scent to your print marketing and branding invokes a powerful sensory experience, often subconsciously, that can greatly influence your customers decisions and opinions about you, your product, or your services.

Smells Evoke Emotions and Memories

Do you have a type of food that evokes an emotional reaction when you smell it? For me, it’s toast. Plain old toast.

When I smell toast, I am drawn back to the first days of school as a first grader, and the anxiety I felt in the pit of my stomach.

We immigrated to the United States when I was five years old. I never went to Kindergarten. In fact, I had never set foot in a school. So starting in the first grade, never being away from my parents, not knowing the language (at all), and not being able to communicate made for an extremely anxious experience for me. And every morning, as I got ready to go to school, the smell of breakfast toast, along with my growing anxiety as the minutes ticked by, made an indelible impression in my mind.

Science Confirms This Physiological Link (i.e. this stuff really works).
The Sense of Smell
The thalamus is the part of your brain that processes sensory input (seeing, touching, hearing). It’s the “logical” side of your brain. All the senses send input to the thalamus before it gets sent to any other part of the brain, with the exception of smell.

When you smell something (olfactory bulb), that sensory input bypasses your logic and goes straight to the emotional side of your brain, the amygdala. This is why people react emotionally to smells. You don’t even have a chance to logically process it. [image courtesy of]

You smell a flower and it makes you happy. You smell rotting trash and it makes you feel disgusted. What about the smell of cologne or perfume that your significant other wears? What emotions does that trigger?

And let’s not forget the New Car Smell…car dealers have been using scent marketing for a long time.

The amygdala is right next to the memory centers of the brain, which is why smelling something invokes memories.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

Dozens of companies exist that specialize in scent branding—creating unique scents for particular brands to invoke particular feelings and emotions.

The industry is estimated to have annual revenues of $80 million. Scenting machines are used in hotels, conference rooms, retail stores, malls and even casinos to evoke particular memories, emotions, and associations.

You can rent a scenting machine for $100 to $10,000 a month. You can also have custom branding scents created for you. It becomes part of your “brand” like your logo. When someone sees your logo, they remember you, your business, your services, etc. When someone smells your “scent”, well, same deal.

When I go to my dentist’s office, she has an air freshener that lightly scents the whole office. I can smell it as soon as I walk in. It is pleasant and makes me happy. I actually look forward to walking into her office.  That’s the power of scent marketing.

Aromatherapy Is No Longer Some Fru-Fru Habit

At the Parsons New School for Design in New York (, you can study scent as part of a master’s program. Scents have been experimented with in movie theaters, and there is research on using scents while people are learning information.

There is no question that scents influence us emotionally, and for any business, can be a powerful new way to enhance your customers experience.

The Zine Design Team already knows how to make awesome print marketing.

We’d love to help you delve into this new area of marketing.


Helpful Links

What Can We Do For You


Category: Marketing