Dunkin' Donuts Sprays Coffee Scent on Buses in South Korea

Contributor
The chain is using 'Flavor Radio' to boost sales by releasing the scent of coffee when its jingle is played

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Remember Smell-O-Vision, an idea that could have been great but just wasn’t? Dunkin’ Donuts has harnessed this idea and is now using it in Seoul, South Korea, in order to increase coffee sales, reports BostInno.

The technology is called "Flavor Radio," and has been installed on buses, programmed to release the smell of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee whenever their radio jingles are played. More than 350,000 commuters ride these buses each day, and Dunkin' Donuts is encouraging them to buy its coffee in a whole new way.

Jessica Gioglio, public relations and social media manager for Dunkin’ Donuts, told BostInno that the campaign "was designed to raise awareness of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee in a fun and engaging way. In Seoul and South Korea, there is a lot of passion for Dunkin’ Donuts, so this offered an opportunity to try something unique and different."

Sandeep Datta, M.D., Ph.D. and an assistant professor at the Department of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School weighed in on the science behind the technology for BostInno. "It doesn’t surprise me that someone would try and use smell in the context of the advertising campaign because of the intimate association between smell and emotions and experience," he said.

Testing for the campaign, which ended in April, showed a 29 percent increase in coffee sales during the campaign, and a 16 percent increase in visitors to shops located near bus stops equipped with the technology.

Although Flavor Radio may have boosted sales in Seoul, it doesn’t appear likely that this technology will be spreading to the U.S. anytime soon. For now, you will just have to catch that great coffee fragrance in a Dunkin’ Donuts location near you.