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Follow that Truck to the N.J. State Fair!

We have all fallen prey to the scent of a steakhouse or hot dog stand at least once in our lives. One second you don’t even realize you’re hungry, and the next you’re desperately searching for a parking space as your tummy rumbles with temptation. The power of smell is not to be underestimated; just think of how many times you have been transported to a particular place with just a whiff, how quickly the smell of your grandmother’s perfume can fill your mind with mountains of wonderful memories. To be sure, smell plays a monumental role in our lives, and can influence both the decisions we make and the way we feel.

Traditionally, most of us have been made aware of attractions through something we saw, be it a billboard, a television commercial or an advertisement on the side of a taxicab or bus. These are all effective ways to catch our attention and let us know of places or events we might enjoy visiting, be it a new restaurant, concert, performance or amusement park. To be sure, these methods of advertising work, along with word-of-mouth and other means. But something many of us might not have experienced is intentional scent marketing – emphasis on ‘intentional.’ Did that steakhouse engage in scent marketing when the aroma of a flavorful filet mignon brought us near? Yes – I think it’s safe to say it did. But that scent marketing was a natural byproduct of what was cooking inside, not a scent for scent’s sake. What the State Fair Meadowlands in New Jersey will be doing is something else entirely!

An article on DetroitNews.com caught my eye this morning as I was reading up on the latest candy news – Trucks emitting cotton candy scent promote N.J. state fair. Did my eyes deceive me, or was I really reading that there are magical trucks that smell of cotton candy? The only truck I’ve ever been trapped behind on the road reeked of exhaust – cotton candy would certainly be a welcome change! Reading on I discovered one of the coolest means of marketing I’ve ever had the pleasure of coming across – truly intentional scent marketing. According to the article, “fair operators will be spending $15,000 for two trucks to circulate in New Jersey and New York between now and the final weekend of the fair.” These trucks will be carrying mobile billboards that use a fabric drenched in the sweet smell of cotton candy and rely on the wind to carry the fair-favorite fragrance to passing drivers and passengers. The goal is to make them aware of the fair through sight and smell, which will ideally result in them making a stop at the fair part of their plans.

I know a good idea when I smell one, and I think this smells like success! What are your thoughts about scent marketing? Should Blair Candy jump on the scent wagon?

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