The Nose Knows, as Alluring Aroma of Fries Attracts McD Customers

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McDonald’s Netherlands is leveraging the fast food restaurant chain’s familiar appetizing odors in its latest promotion campaign which has consumers following their nose in curiosity.

A series of plain red and yellow billboards were placed at outdoor locations in the cities of Utrecht and Leiden. The prints appear to be empty at first glance, but as passers-by approach within five meters, they are greeted with the distinct scent of 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.

“We are all about good times, and well known for our distinctive brand assets that are mostly visual,” said Stijn Mentrop-Huliselan, McDonald’s Netherlands chief marketing officer. “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 walk through the Golden Arches entrance and order their favorite McDonald’s products.