Featured, Scent Marketing

Here’s reaching out to you, Kevin!

Written by Jennifer Dublino, on June 8th, 2010

Him being  Kevin Roberts, CEO Worldwide of agency giant  Saatchi & Saatchi and acclaimed author of “Lovemarks, The Future Behind Brands”.

He says “The advertising business has become a place where there are no rules, there are no formulae, there is no best practice and nobody has a clue about how to effectively market products to the masses”.

“The future belongs to those who can make emotional connections in the market… The idea is that you have to be entertained as well as informed.”
“The future lies in ‘sisomo’, the combination of sight, sound and motion as experienced on digital screens.”

Good stuff! But why does Kevin – along with 95% of his peers in other agencies – ignore the sense of smell? Granted, it won’t fit on the digital screen but shouldn’t we learn to walk before we run?

So, what happened 15 years ago when Internet and digital media were still in their infancy, yet the effect that scent can have on a consumer  – especially when delivered accurately and in a congruent manner – was fairly well explored? At that time Scent Marketing was primarily considered a technical challenge and there were few solutions. Plus, the providers of these solutions did in most cases not have the marketing dollars to plant the roots for a demand to grow in a distant, uncertain future.

For advertising agencies it was much less of a challenge to get consumers’ attention via print, TV and – still – the radio. And that’s what they recommended to their clients. Instant gratification included. An easy sell. Still today, roughly 85% of communication with the consumer happens via audible or visual media.

Meanwhile, companies such as aerome (now defunct) and  ScentAir were pounding the pavement with some success.  Aerome secured support from International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF) while ScentAir, with Private Equity investment, grew into the 800-pound gorilla it still is today. Many prospective clients were interested but few were willing to write the check. And we are talking pre-recession, dot-com-era economy!

Throughout that time period, agencies remained famously absent from the Scent Marketing radar screen. Probably because there was still enough other “stuff” to sell and on-line media were considered much sexier. Agencies also had developed from unified think tanks into clusters of separate “information silos”. One silo per customer and no information to be shared.
Well, there is no sense in trying to turn back time. Instead we need to better communicate with the advertising agencies and that involves not giving up making the connection on every level available. One nose at a time.

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