Detroit Auto Show Preview: Nissan to Debut Brand Scent

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Nissan is pulling out the stops for its North American Auto Show return next week — and the stopper. In a bid to woo car-lovers heading to the Detroit trade show next week, the Japanese automaker is appealing to the senses, including testing a brand smell that it may roll out to its dealers. And it won’t be that dreaded “new car smell,” either; Nissan describes its brand scent as “quite a modern smell — a bit Oriental,” according to a press release.

“As is tradition in luxury hotels and retailers, which pipe pleasing music and fragrance into their lobby and common spaces, the Nissan display features its own special scents and sounds, carefully choreographed to create a complete experience for visitors,” Nissan added of the multisensory exhibit design, above, which will travel to ten trade shows this year. “A distinctive fragrance will be periodically released into the display area.”[more]

It’s all part of the automaker’s multisensory brand experience: “The new Nissan exhibit is designed to interact not only with the senses of sight and sound, but also touch and smell. As is tradition in luxury hotels and retailers, which pipe pleasing music and fragrance into their lobby and common spaces, the Nissan display features its own special scents and sounds, carefully choreographed to create a complete experience for visitors. A distinctive fragrance will be periodically released into the display area and the mood-setting background music will change with a subtly different vibe and energy for morning, mid-day and evening.”

The scent was developed by Air Aroma, which blogged about the collaboration:

Nissan approached Air Aroma last year to assist them in finding a fragrance that best suited and matched their brand and market positioning. Nissan gave the Air Aroma perfumers a brief, explaining they wanted a fragrance that was modern, vibrant and exciting and that also hinted towards the company’s Japanese roots.

Air Aroma, now the official fragrance partner for Nissan, used this initial brief in conjunction with looking at Nissan’s target audience and brand identity to select the prefect fragrance. A fresh, luxurious and oriental fragrance with hints of green tea notes was eventually selected.

Linking a brand with scent is highly effective in environments where there are multiple sensory triggers, such as lighting, sound and luxurious surroundings. Nissan’s latest exhibit, showcases all of these features and in addition the use of scent, they will have background music that will subtly change the mood for morning, mid-day and evening.

It’s certainly one way to make dollars — and scents — to differentiate the Nissan brand. It’s a tactic that has also been used by brands such as Samsung, which introduced a scent for its retail concepts in 2005, as Fast Company reported, while Edmunds.com noted some other examples:

Subaru spritzed a pine fragrance into the air at a Detroit auto show about 10 years ago. The trend toward branded scents is designed “to put people in the mood to spend,” according to Adweek… (adding) that Singapore Airlines uses Stefan Floridian Waters in its airplanes and Victoria’s Secret sprays its branded scents into the air in its stores. Coco Chanel reportedly started the trend in 1921 when she sprayed Chanel No. 5 perfume in the dressing rooms of her Paris boutique.

More details in this interview with Roel de Vries, VP of global marketing strategy for Nissan, about how the brand scent aims to make people feel “at home”:

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