If you were one of the lucky recipients of the PRINTING United Expo direct mail piece that hit mailboxes last month, you might have noticed something unusual about it. It engaged more than just the senses of sight and touch, it tapped into a third sense: smell. That’s because the piece was enhanced with Scentisphere’s (Booth N672) Rub’nSmell technology.
The piece, which was designed to engage with recipients and encourage them to register for PRINTING United Expo, was printed by ANRO Inc. in West Chester, PA, and featured imagery of a van heading toward Las Vegas, with the Nevada sun shining brightly in the corner. To make the direct mailer interactive, the Rub’nSmell technology was applied to the sun as a UV varnish with fragrance encapsulation that, when rubbed, released the summery scent of sunscreen. Rub’nSmell or Scratch’nSniff technologies present a huge area of opportunity for brands looking to break through the clutter using the sense of smell — consumers’ most powerful sense, more than all the other four combined.
Mark Bernstein, president, Scentisphere, explains that global home, personal, beauty, and fragrance brands have been utilizing scent marketing in omnichannel media for many years, and it’s a growing trend in non-fragrance brands — such as hotels, credit cards, and airlines looking for an experiential touch — adopting the same strategies in their print media.
“Non-fragrance brands using scent marketing in direct mail are seeing an increased response rate of up to 50%,” he says, “coupled with the USPS TSI Postage Promotion, it is a net savings and an ROI driver.”
Using scent marketing within printed media is a logical transition, as it’s been a strategy used for decades within the ambient scent marketing arena, such as hotels and retail.
“For the past 20 years, brands where fragrance is important to their equity or consumer purchase decisions have built successful campaigns using scented tactics in print, promotions, point of purchase, and packaging,” Bernstein says. “It’s incredibly exciting to see strong results with fragrance being used as an interactive, stop and hold tool in direct mailers for non-fragrance brands as well — it speaks to the emotional and interactive power of our sense of smell.”
There’s no question scent marketing can be effective; however, Bernstein provides two tips when considering scent for your next direct mail campaign. First, there “needs to be a great call to action to invite the consumer to trial the fragrance and engage them,” he explains. Secondly, the fragrance needs to complement the imagery of the campaign — such as in the PRINTING United Expo campaign where the sun smelled of sunscreen.
Direct mail isn’t the only opportunity for scent marketing though; any printed piece can be complemented with a sensory amplification. Bernstein called-out Rub’nSmell packaging as one of the “new trends in the industry,” with scent being applied to anything from primary pack labels, shrink sleeves, folding cartons, and gift sets. Scentisphere’s scented varnishes and coatings make it easy to integrate scent into the already established packaging supply chain of any brand, which drives cost savings.
“Scentisphere is the only company in the world that has fragrance encapsulation compatible with every type of printing varnish and coating,” he says. “It can be applied by any flexographic, offset, UV, or gravure printer, and Scentisphere will qualify them to ensure they’re comfortable with Rub’nSmell application, which runs similarly to conventional varnishes and coatings.”
He explains that the way the fragrance is encapsulated allows the product to be mixed with any printing varnish, meaning any printer can apply it within an existing coating process.
In the case of the PRINTING United Expo direct mail campaign, ANRO produced the piece using a Rub’nSmell UV offset varnish in-line with a four-color printing process on a Heidelberg Speedmaster (Booth N1643) SM 102.
With the scent application technology being so versatile and adaptable to any printing process, it presents a viable option for brands looking to differentiate from the competition.
“Whether it’s Rub’nSmell varnishes and coatings; or Scent-A-Peel labels — any printer can apply scented technologies to virtually any printed media. These are proven tools available for brands to use to capitalize on the omnichannel, experiential marketing that consumers are craving, and retailers are desiring,” Bernstein concludes.