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Aroma and Persuasion “I love the smell of napalm in the morning…”

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Presentation on theme: "Aroma and Persuasion “I love the smell of napalm in the morning…”"— Presentation transcript:

1 Aroma and Persuasion “I love the smell of napalm in the morning…”
Lt. Colonel Bill Kilgore, Apocalypse Now

2 Smell is multifaceted Odor “means” many things. It functions as:
a boundary-marker, distance maintainer a status symbol a method of identity management a cultural marker

3 Aroma: the neglected child in the persuasion family
Smell is the one sense you can’t turn off Smell, fragrance, and aroma are neglected in communication research few scholarly articles on the role of fragrance smells not viewed as symbol usage Smell and “real world” persuasion perfumes, fragrance inserts air fresheners cleaners, deodorizers ambient aromas (Baron, 1997)

4 The Olfactory System Smell is our most primitive sense
part of the limbic system (emotional center of the brain) nasal passage is “hard-wired” to the brain Average persons’ sense of smell is poor only able to identify scents by name women are better at distinguishing smells than men 30-50 scents can be identified with practice. People have poor smell vocabularies Scents are often defined in terms of other senses (e.g., sweet, smoky, nutty, fruity)

5 The role of smell in human relationships
By 4-6 weeks, infants can discriminate between their mother’s scent and a stranger (Russell, 1976; Schleidt & Genzel, 1990) Almost everyone has experienced a situation in which a smell evoked a nostalgic memory Importance of smell in daily relationships (Olfactory Research Fund, 1999): opposite sex: 76% very important spouse: 74% very important family: 35% very important friends: 36% very important co-workers: 39% very important

6 More on the role of smell in human relationships
Preferences for smells are highly idiosyncratic, or individualized. There is probably no universal agreement on what smells good or bad Americans’ disdain for body odor, breath odor cow dung as a hair care product in Africa Culture and social conditioning teach individuals what smells to like or dislike. Liver and onions, meat cooking, ethnic foods Gender and smell: a double standard?

7 The Fragrance Industry
Fragrance industry nets $20 billion annually colognes and after-shaves alone net $4.4 billion per year (Ortega & McCartney, 1994) naming or labeling a smell affects how the smell is perceived, hence the sensual, exotic names given to perfumes. The attractiveness of the container affects the perceived pleasantness of the smell The fragrance industry is selling romance marketing themes associated with fragrances revolve around images of romance, intrigue, sensuality, sexiness

8 Branding with Fragrance
Samsung Electronics introduced the fragrance, Intimate Blue, to its flagship store in New York City. The Park Hyatt Washington, D.C., pumps a scent into the lobby using atomizers The new official fragrance of Omni Hotels is a blend of lemongrass and green tea.

9 Fragrances and persuasion
No clear consensus on whether fragrances increase attraction or arousal at best, scent is only part of the attraction equation Fragrance as a peripheral cue--may reinforce, alter, enhance affective responses positive or negative mood states recall of memories, experiences

10 Scents and persuasion Ambient aromas and consumer behavior
(Crow, 1993) Nike shoe study Helping behavior Baron (1997) effect of ambient aromas on helping behavior at a shopping mall Shoppers at a mall were more than twice as likely to help a stranger in the presence of pleasant odors like roasting coffee or baking cookies. Driving behavior Baron & Kalsher (1998) examined the impact of a pleasant fragrance on driving behavior. Performance was significantly improved in the fragrance condition. Medical applications of aroma (Jellinek, 1994) pleasant aromas can reduce anxiety and stress associated with medical tests MRIs, CAT scans, etc.)

11 Fragrance limitations
Smells are subjective: People don’t always agree on what smells good (liver & onions?) People may become desensitized to, or oversensitized, to smells. Fragrances can backfire: Job applicants whose resumes were fragranced were less likely to be called for an interview (Sczesny & Stahlberg, 2002). Masculine fragrance were superior to feminine fragrances for male and female applicants, but the “no fragrance” condition was best of all.

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