Scent Marketing in Sports... It Just Smells Right

Are you looking for new ways to engage consumers seated in your suites? Are you searching for new ways to deliver on consumer recognition/recall outside of visual awareness?

In the coming years, professional and collegiate organizations will begin considering the thought of using scent marketing to promote the products of their corporate partners to fans in-venue. But how?

Recently, a company called Cinescent has begun pumping out scents of products in European movie theaters. In the theater, consumers are shown a :60 clip of a typical beach scene with people lying in chairs, waves crashing onto the beaches and sea gulls flying above in the sky. While consumers watch and wonder what the ad is for, the scent of Nivea sun cream circulates through air conditioning vents within the venue, preceding an advertisement on the screen that features a Nivea logo alongside the words, "Nivea. The Scent of Summer."

What was the response and consumer recall?

Exit polls have revealed a 515% rise in consumer recall in comparison to moviegoers who were shown the same advertisement without the scent. The same ad, when combined with only a subliminal whiff of a scent, scored a 25% lift (What's That Smell in the Movie Theater? It's an Ad - Ad Age).

Does scent marketing pose a risk to consumers?

No. The scent is designed to cover other smells without being overpowering. By distributing smells through air vents, consumers are exposed to much finer molecules than methods where smells were distributed via boxes located amongst consumers.

What is the translation for sports marketers?

In the coming years, professional and collegiate organizations will begin entertaining the thought of using scent marketing to promote concessions and product offerings of their corporate partners to fans in-venue. But how?

Sports marketers can begin researching and considering implementing similar tactics throughout suite levels of stadiums and arenas. If air conditioning vents are connected and televisions are synched in each of the suites, sports marketers have the capability at their fingertips to provide their corporate partners with a new way to engage consumers seated in these areas. As more companies trial new scent technologies, sports marketers can begin discovering new ways to deliver value for partners across a number of categories:

  • Automakers (i.e. featuring a silent ad of a car touring throughout the city and/or testing high speeds with the scent of a new car smell filtering in)
  • Sun care providers (as shown above)
  • Perfume/cologne providers
  • Air freshener / detergent companies 
  • Coffee blends
  • Bread / Pastry / Donut companies
  • Chocolate/confectionary companies
  • Home Improvement companies (filtering in the smell of fresh cut grass)
  • Restaurants (Upscale, casual dining, QSR chains)
  • Concessions Items

There should be more to come on this topic in the near future. Stay tuned!