Scented Direct Mail Marketing is in the Air


A few decades ago Volvo Automotive created a direct mail campaign, as well as an onslaught of magazine inserts, for the rollout of their newest vehicle. It was lauded within the advertising and automotive industry as one of the smartest, most effective campaigns in their history. The big idea: A scented piece that emulated the “new car smell”.

Welcome to the world of scent marketing.

What is Scented Direct Mail Marketing?

Of all the 5 senses, the sense of smell is arguably the most powerful. Seeing that the olfactory bulb is so directly linked to the brain, the sense of smell can be very powerful. Smells can change your mood, transport you to a distant memory, alert you of immediate danger, and even affect your sense of taste. Smell is an essential component of the human experience.

So why not take advantage of it? Volvo certainly did.

To completely harness the power of scent is a marketer’s dream; and you don’t need to be a perfume company to have a successful scent marketing campaign. For example, if you are selling the great outdoors, you might choose to send out a pine scented piece. Here are a few simple tips to help you define what concept you are trying to sell:

  • Identify the message you want to convey: A good creative team can do this using words or images. Maybe create a “teaser headline” or a strong headline to set up your message.
  • Identify the emotion you want to evoke: How do you want your reader, recipient, or consumer to feel? What is the key “take-away”?
  • What is the scent? You’ve identified the message and the emotion/feeling, now what scent will connect all the dots?
  • A clear, quick call to action. Now that you’ve smelled it, here’s where to get it. Smelling evokes a feeling, so once you tap into that emotion, be clear on what to do next.

Proof So Convincing, You Can Almost Smell It

Numerous studies have been done on scent marketing. Here are a few key takeaways from our friends at Printing Impressions:

  • 75% of emotions conjured daily are based on smell.
  • 80% of consumers will interact with a scented marketing piece.
  • 81% of consumers would prefer a branded piece they can smell and touch.
  • 67% of consumers think that scented print ads are fun!

To add even more proof that scent sells, according to Forbes, stores and casinos are known for using “aroma marketing” to improve the mood of their customers. Certain scents promote happiness and positivity which can lead to increased optimism, and therefore, spending. 

How to Add Scent to Your Marketing

When it comes to scented direct mail printing, there are a few ways to get the most effective bang for your buck. Surprisingly, the creative design may drive which option will work best.

  • Rub ’n Smell: A scented varnish that prints in-line similar to a fifth color. This is done directly on the piece itself either on the outside or inside. You can use more than one scent, but we also suggest keeping it simple.
  • Scent-A-Peel Labels: By simply peeling off a label the scent is activated. The label is transparent and multi-ply and approved by the USPS for application outside the mail piece.
  • Scent-A-Coat: This particular scented marketing piece works best when placed inside an envelope. It is an ambient or clear coating, so no rubbing activation is required.

Why Scented Marketing and Bigger Dot Make Sense

Scent marketing may be new to you, but not to Bigger Dot. We have access to the most innovative printing techniques available, including scented marketing. We can help concept, design, project-manage, produce, and deliver a scented direct mail marketing piece or campaign that will be seen, touched, smelled, and certainly talked about.

bigger dot is a global print project management company that provides custom, specialized and strategic print project solutions. We work with industries such as performing arts, tech, education, aerospace, and corporate culture changers.