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Written by Jennifer Dublino, on March 24th, 2011
In an over-the-top marketing kit, HBO has distributed a number of scent kits to promote its upcoming series “Game of Thrones” based on the fantasy book by George R.R. Martin. Each kit consists of a wooden box (see photos below) with authentic looking scrolls and vials of various scents from the scenes in the story. The kit, titled “The Maester’s Path Scent Kit” was sent to fan groups, media and online influencers and contain instructions for users to play a multi-step game called The Maester’s Path where they figure out clues.
Upon opening the box, the smell of leather and parchment wafts out. The box contains various scrolls, a map, six fragrance vials, a leather pouch with strips of paper to dip in the vials, two metal funnels and two larger glass jars. Recipients are told to mix the scents together in the large jars to evoke particular locations in the story. According to fan sites, which are all buzzing with excitement over the kit, the game and the series, each scent vial is amazingly realistic.
Fans who have received the kits are sharing the information and soliciting clues all over the web and social networks, and those who haven’t are bemoaning that they were not chosen. Reports are that about 80 kits were sent out.
Since the kit only contains the first part of the game, it is reasonable to assume that more mailings will be sent out to continue the game and build the momentum to a crescendo until the show’s April 17th premier. If HBO sees success from the show, which seems likely, there are four other books in the series, with a fifth one scheduled to be published this summer.
This is the most high profile use of scent marketing that I have seen. While we have been seeing more and more inclusion of scent in entertainment, HBO’s scent kit has now taken the use of scent in marketing to a whole new level. If you know of any other spectacular uses of scent in marketing, please share in the comments below.