Editor's Picks: The Nose Knows

Freshly ground coffee. Just-baked chocolate chip cookies. Movie-theater buttered popcorn. A brand-new car. What do these things have in common? Their aromas provoke pleasant memories and stir our emotions when we catch a whiff.

“Scent has a very strong connection to the world around us,” says Charley Johnson, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Salt Lake City, Utah-based supplier HandStands. “We smell something immediately when walking into a room, even without cognitively knowing what it is. And then the mind clicks in, becomes curious, and wants to know what it is.”

Magic Of Memory

Aromas have the power to evoke strong feelings in us because of the subconscious effect scent has on behavior. “The sense of smell is the strongest and most primal of all our senses,” says Harris Cohen, MAS, president and CEO of San Diego-based supplier All-In-One. “It vividly reminds us of moments—good or bad—we may have first experienced decades ago.”

Of the five senses, experts say that smell is the sense most closely linked to memory. That’s why pleasant smells have the power to change our mood and make us feel happy.

“A scent can recall a vivid memory, instantly, as if it happened yesterday,” says Kathy DiFrancesco, outside sales manager for West Jordan, Utah-based supplier SnugZ USA. “Our experience with certain scents has a strong impact on how we perceive them.”

Of course, marketers long ago realized the power of scent and began appealing to consumers’ sense of smell. Today, in a competitive market, scent marketing helps brands stand out.

Since promotional products are the only advertising medium that appeal to all five senses, including the sense of smell, promotional products and scent marketing are an extremely powerful and dynamic duo. “What better way to get someone—a customer, a prospect—thinking of your brand?” Johnson asks.

By combining the appeal of scent marketing with the multi-sensory medium of promotional products brands, marketers will connect with consumers on a deeper level. Scented promotional products can attract new customers, improve retention, increase sales and expand brand recognition.

Cohen says, “In marketing, scents can be highly effective in helping us distinguish one product from another. It can trigger a memory or desire that influences a purchase decision.”

Olfactory Authority

Incorporating scented promotional products into a marketing campaign increases the chances that end users will associate the brand with a positive experience, happy memories and good feelings.

“Scents can remind us of pleasant associations, whether that is our home, the beach or a meadow,” Cohen says. “These associations help to create an environment in which we feel comfortable. In a consumer setting, this impacts our decision to stay longer and consume more.”

According to the American Marketing Association, studies have shown up to a 40 percent improvement in mood when people are exposed to a pleasant fragrance.

“Across industries, businesses are using scent as part of multi-sensory marketing strategies to enhance customers’ experiences of a location and its products or services,” Cohen says. “These experiences allow customers to develop deeper memories and emotional connections with the brand and promote sales and loyalty.”

You could say that integrating scent marketing into your promotional products campaign is a strategy that will lead customers by the nose.


Aromatherapy Ascent

Most of us have been exposed to aromatherapy in one way or another. Maybe you received a gift of aromatherapy bath salts or bought a scented candle or indulged in a relaxing or exhilarating essential oil. Here’s a closer look at some of these favorites.

What Is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy uses aromatic plant oils, including essential oils, and other aroma compounds to improve well-being on all levels—physically, emotionally and even spiritually. Aromatherapy, or essential oil therapy, is the practice of using aromatic plant essences to balance and heal the body, mind and spirit.

What Are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are concentrated liquids containing aromatic compounds from plants. The oil is referred to as “essential” because it contains the essence of the plant’s fragrance from which it is derived. Although essential oils have been used for centuries, there has been a recent resurgence in their popularity through aromatherapy.


Common Essential Oils And Their Benefits

Reduces anxiety, helps support relaxation and calming, balances mood

Relieves nausea, soothes muscle aches and headaches, energizes

Roman Chamomile
Eases menstrual cramps, acts as a sedative, combats insomnia

Uplifting, enhances immunity; it’s antimicrobial, so it’s great for cleaning the home

Harmonizes the spirit and helps support grounding during negative moods 

Lessens sinus congestion, deepens breathing, acts as an expectorant, energizes

These Make Good Scents

When it comes to stimulating the senses, the TASTEit Aroma Bottle does double duty. This innovative water bottle uses scented aromas in the bottle’s lid to stimulate the user’s tasting experience. As the user drinks, the brain believes plain water is lightly flavored. Since researchers say 80 percent of the flavors we taste come from what we smell, this BPA-free water bottle leverages its ability to incite two of the five senses. Flavors include orange, berry, lemon and peach.

St Regis Group   /   PPAI 230188www.stregiscrystal.com


Stress relief has never smelled so heavenly with the aRoma™ Ball. This stress ball doubles as a scent diffuser when squeezed, emitting scents that are sure to evoke pleasant memories and positive feelings for the user. Pick one or more in fun color/scent combinations: blue/gumball, green/apple, orange/citrus and red/berries. Perfect for any client who wants to promote stress relief or physical therapy.

HandStands   /   PPAI 111285www.handstandspromo.com


The Hot Rod™ Vent Stick is an automotive air freshener that fills a car with a pleasant and refreshing scent while promoting the brand. This “scent-sational” air freshener slides unobtrusively into a car’s air conditioning vent, so the system can circulate fresh scents as it blows chilled air. The brilliant, full-color Fireglaze™ imprint area displays the advertiser’s brand where it can be viewed and smelled every day. Available in popular scents such as Fresh Linen, Cucumber Melon and Summer Breeze.

HandStands   /   PPAI 111285   /   www.handstandspromo.com


Who wouldn’t respond positively to the smell of melt-in-your-mouth chocolate chip cookies? Deepen customer connections with the Heaven Scent Twist Pen, which comes in evocative aromas like Chocolate Chip, Glazed Donut and Mocha Latte Coffee. This twist-action, retractable ballpoint pen associates a brand with something delicious, and it’s made in the USA.

All-In-One   /   PPAI 111343www.allinoneline.com


Offered in fun scent-and-color combinations like Bubble Gum/Pink, Fruit Punch/Orange and Vanilla Cupcake/Blue, the Snifty Designer Pen features stylish artwork on the barrel. This click-action, ballpoint pen has aroma scents infused into the grip to make a lasting impression on the user. The pen’s Soft-Comfort Grip offers ergonomic design for maximum comfort and to prevent writing cramps. Made in the USA of lightweight plastic for precision control.

All-In-One   /   PPAI 111343www.allinoneline.com


Add some warmth to your next promotion with the Essential Oil Infused Candle in Apothecary Jar. This fragrant soy wax candle is infused with essential oils like peppermint and pine. These naturally extracted aromatic essences come from plants and are used to promote harmony of the body, mind and spirit. Each candle is poured into an authentic apothecary jar with a tight lid to keep the air out. Perfect for yoga studios, doctor’s offices and any health-related business. 

SnugZ USA   /   PPAI 112982www.snugzusa.com


Aromatherapy is a popular way to treat an array of ailments, including insomnia, anxiety and even mild pain. With the Essential Oil Roller Bottle Set, marketers can piggyback on the popularity of the aromatherapy craze, so users experience a paradise of the five senses, especially the sense of smell. These therapeutic-grade essential oils can ease the mind and take the body on a relaxing journey. Each sturdy gift box contains three essential oil roller balls and an instruction manual.

SnugZ USA   /   PPAI 112982www.snugzusa.com


Personalize your promotions with the scented Personal Candle Tin with Lid. This metal container is filled with a fragrant candle that is available in 10 color-and-scent combinations to liven the senses and evoke brand loyalty. With the option to imprint on the tin lid, this candle makes the perfect keepsake for special occasions such as weddings, parties and other celebrations.

Custom Crest   /   PPAI 113674   /   www.customcrest.com


Stinky-smelling odors don’t stand a chance with the One Spritz Odor Eliminator Spray. Just one spray destroys foul-smelling odors like those found in a bathroom, smoke-filled bar or locker room. This powerful solution even counters overwhelming cooking odors and neutralizes smells deep within carpet, linens, upholstery and draperies.

HPC Global   /   PPAI 113506   /   www.hpcglobal.com


Perfect for a back-to-school promotion or university event, the Scented Pencil is a traditional wooden pencil with an olfactory flair. Each colorful, scented pencil features a unique design with a smoothly painted finish. Made of quality wood, this pencil comes in a variety of bright colors and cheerful designs.

L And L PromosPPAI 678603www.landlpromos.biz


Let the Febreze Car Vent Clip give your next promotion a breath of fresh air. A preeminent brand trusted by millions, Febreze delivers a fresh, clean scent, eliminating stubborn vehicle odors with its unique OdorClear™ technology. Long-lasting and mess-free, the liquid-filled dispenser attaches easily to a car’s air conditioning vent. Select the level of intensity to control how much scent is released. Available in Linen & Sky scent, it comes standard clipped on a backer card, or upgrade by adding a protective clamshell. Both include backer card with full product information. 

Natural Trends, LLC   /   PPAI 235352www.naturaltrends.com


Brittany Glenn is a Dallas, Texas-based writer and a former associate editor of PPB.

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