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Marketing Innovation: McDonald’s Netherlands Uses Scent Billboards for Their Latest Campaign

Smells Like McDonald's billboard in Leiden, The Netherlands

In everyday settings like elevators, subways, or conference rooms, one often encounters a familiar scent: McDonald’s. Though unseen, its presence is unmistakable, akin to the brand’s iconic logo or jingle. That is why McDonald’s Netherlands leveraged their iconic smell in their latest campaign.

For decades, McDonald's has seduced taste buds around the globe, making it one of the most beloved and recognizable brands out there. But the brand realized that there's something just as memorable for consumers as their golden arches, products, or jingle: their smell.

Check out people's reaction in the video below:

McDonald's Netherlands put this to the test. A series of plain yellow and red billboards were placed in Utrecht and Leiden. The prints appear to be empty at first glance, but as passers-by approach within 5 meters, they are greeted with the distinct aroma of McDonald's French Fries, coming from inside the billboard. This is the first time that a billboard has been used to diffuse the McDonald's scent, making the recognizable smell its most important brand asset.

Stijn Mentrop-Huliselan, CMO McDonald's Netherlands, states: “McDonald's is all about Good Times. We are well known for our distinctive brand assets that they are mostly visual. Smell has been proven to be more effective at sparking clear and emotional memories than images. With the inclusion of this next sense in our advertising, we found a new way to remind people of Good Times at McDonald's.”

The billboards were strategically placed within 200 meters of McDonald's restaurants, inviting those with triggered cravings to easily swing by and order their favorite McDonald's products. When every brand is targeting eyeballs, McDonald's targets noses.

Posted by on April 8, 2024.

Categories: Sales and Marketing

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