Designed to S(m)ell: When Scented Advertising Induces Proximity and Enhances Appeal

Bernadette Kamleitner, Ruta Ruzeviciute, Dipayan Biswas

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


Prior research on the use of scent in advertising has shown that scent can enhance the memorability of and engagement with an ad. However, can scenting an ad also change the way consumers perceive and react to the advertised product? This research provides new insights for this question and demonstrates an additional facet of scent: its ability to physically represent the essence of a target product and thus induce a sense of proximity. Through six studies, the authors show that scented ads enhance consumers’ sense of proximity of the advertised product and consequently increase product appeal. In line with the proposed visceral nature of the effect, this effect holds even for unpleasant scents but is contingent on the scent’s ability to represent the advertised product. The effect is weakened when the product is physically close. The findings of this research have implications for when and why firms should use scented ads.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315 - 331
JournalJournal of Marketing Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 502020 Market research
  • 501021 Social psychology
  • 501002 Applied psychology
  • 502019 Marketing


  • #inspiration

Cite this