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McDonald’s Fries Scented Campaign


McDonald’s in the Netherlands has launched an innovative marketing campaign featuring the world’s first scented billboards designed to emit the aroma of their iconic French fries. This unique approach aims to attract customers by leveraging the power of scent, which is known to evoke clear and emotional memories more effectively than images. The campaign involves the installation of minimalist, logo-free billboards in red and yellow, which, upon pedestrians approaching within approximately 15 feet (or 5 meters), release the distinctive scent of McDonald’s fries. These billboards are equipped with state-of-the-art ventilators that “suck and diffuse” the scent, with a tray of fries placed inside the billboard to capture the complex aroma of McDonald’s gastronomy.

The billboards have been strategically placed within 200 meters (or approximately 650 feet) of McDonald’s restaurants, allowing customers to follow the scent trail directly to the source. This marketing strategy is based on research indicating that smell can trigger more potent and emotional memories than visual cues, providing a novel way to remind people of the “Good Times at McDonald’s.”

The campaign was developed in collaboration with Amsterdam-based agency TBWA\Neboko and involved the production of unbranded, blank billboards with a hidden compartment for fries. An internal heat and ventilation system intensifies the smell of the snack and directs it towards anyone walking within the vicinity. The initiative has been met with positive feedback from passersby, many of whom recognized the smell as McDonald’s fries.

This marketing initiative comes amid other strategic moves by McDonald’s, including a partnership with Krispy Kreme to offer its donuts at McDonald’s stores across the US, expected to commence later this year and be completed by 2026. The scented billboard campaign and the collaboration with Krispy Kreme are part of McDonald’s efforts to innovate its marketing strategies and enhance customer engagement by tapping into the sensory experiences associated with the brand.

It’s interesting to see how fast food chains like McDonald’s are experimenting with innovative advertising strategies to appeal to consumers’ senses and emotions. The concept of a scented billboard is a unique way to use smell to create a memorable and enticing experience for customers. The idea of using a fan-favorite scent like McDonald’s signature fries could potentially help drive traffic to nearby locations. However, it remains to be seen how effective this strategy will ultimately be in generating sales and revenue.

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