Smells Like Profit: Scents in Stores, on Products, Makes Shoppers Buy More

Fruit: Evokes summer, and makes people feel more open-minded, happy and sexual.

Cigars and leather: Reflect conservative values and make brands seem more trustworthy. Lindstrom points out that banks and law firms often, sometimes unwittingly, use leather and wood in their interior furnishings, to project a certan solidity.

Car Makers Engineer New Car Smell

Certain industries make a natural fit for scent marketing. Restaurants and bakeries, as well as fashion companies that use perfumes to evoke certain styles, are well versed in this art. And we all know about real estate agents who recommend baking cookies before the open house.

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Others are less intuititive. Car makers, for example, have been engineering that "new car smell" for years, to conjure up certain thoughts in buyers' minds.

"Every major car brand uses scents consistently," says Lindstrom, who has been a consultant to several large automakers. He says car smells are so well branded, that a study he conducted showed that consumers can usually identify a brand just by its smell.

ScentAir has also created scents for hotels and casinos that want their guests to feel more comfortable. The Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, for example, sprays its space with "Coconut Spice" to complement "the lush vegetation, flowing water and exotic d├ęcor."

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A Future of Scents

A range of other companies -- from cell phone carriers to toy makers -- have also tried to take advantage of scent branding, but the strategy hasn't completely permeated most industries yet. Experts say you should not be surprised, however, if in the future your favorite gadget comes with its own trademarked scent.

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