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Making Sense of Scents

This Promotion Smells a Little Funny

Candidate Carl Paladino has given new meaning to the phrase “trash talking” when it comes to politics. Running for Governor of New York, this Tea Party candidate sent out a direct mailer screaming “Something Stinks in Albany.” Oh, and the offensive postcard smelled like garbage – literally!

Now, you know that I am a HUGE fan of using all of the senses in branding, but this effort went in the wrong direction! Even worse, this direct mail piece is in violation of the USPS regulations against mailing “matter emitting an obnoxious odor.” Smelling like a landfill certainly fits the bill.

What’s the Lesson Here? Sense is the strongest tie to emotion and is the only sense that can’t be turned off. So, use scent to create a positive impression. Can you imagine how much better this promotion would have been if it talked about cleaning up Albany and smelled like a fragrant field or a hint of lavender? Then, by association, Mr. Paladino would have come out smelling like a rose.

Want to learn more about branding through the senses? Take a look at Chapter 11 in Red Fire Branding.

I adore the signature fragrance of The Venetian Hotel. It smells like nothing else and just one whiff combined with the cacophony of slot machines tells me I’m in Vegas, baby!

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