Don't follow your nose - MoneySense

Don’t follow your nose

Marketers are now using “ambient scenting” to leave you with a good feeling about their products.


I love those ginger peach candles from Pier One. When I’ve cooked something smelly or when I’m trying to get a lot of writing done, I light ‘em up all around me and breathe deeply.

Do you believe that what you smell can have an impact on your emotions? I do. The idea that scent can influence your emotions and your behaviour isn’t new. Lavender helps you sleep. Mint wakes your brain up and makes you more aware. These are just some of the truths of the aromatherapy domain. But did you know that marketers are now using “ambient scenting” to leave you with a good feeling about their products? And do you think that if they spray a certain scent in your direction, you’ll be more likely to buy?

A Business Week article once said, “Researchers believe that ambient scenting allows consumers to make a deeper brand connection, and data has led many other non-scent-related companies to join the fray.” There is evidence of a powerful relationship between the olfactory bulb and the brain’s limbic system, which is the part of the brain that handles memories and emotion.

Consumers can recall a facial tissue’s other attributes better for up to two weeks if it had a scent. Could this be why laundry detergent, which used to come in lemony fresh now comes in a b’zillion different scents?

Not only can your nose be pulled into the buying decision, so can your ears. A research study done at Penn State showed that when ambient scent and music dovetail, consumers rate the environment significantly more positive and are more likely to impulse shop.

Now research projects are popping up everywhere to try and fine-tune the use of scent and music to manipulate consumers. You going to have to go into stores with a clothespin on your nose and ear plugs firmly wedged in your ears if you hope to stand a chance of getting out with your wallet intact!