McCain's potato

UK: McCain cooks up potato-scented bus stop campaign

McCain Foods, the frozen food manufacturer, has embarked on an appropriately winter-warming outdoor campaign for its new baked potatoes – tempting UK consumers with the smell of baked potatoes at ten bus stops around the country as part of its £1.4m push for Ready Made Jackets.

The bus shelters in York, Manchester, London, Nottingham and Glasgow ask people to press a button on the McCain poster which sets off a hidden heating element to warm the fiberglass 3D potato and simultaneously release the aroma of oven-baked jacket potato throughout the bus shelter.

The aroma was developed over three months in collaboration with a specialist scent lab. The shelters will also dispense money off coupons for the product, baked potatoes that are ready to eat from frozen in five minutes but are claimed to offer the same smell and taste of slow oven-cooked potatoes.

The creative work is by ad agency Beattie McGuinness Bungay.

Pete Hitchman, head of Food and Drink at Willoughby PR in the UK had this to say: “Whether or not you agree that every bus stop in the world should smell like a baked potato, McCain’s recent stunt certainly demonstrates where sense marketing is heading.

“A few months ago I blogged about the rise of scent marketing, which involves pumping artificial smells into shops to entice customers in. And without wanting to come across as a crazy ‘smelling’ man, I sniffed out another great scent story this week – McCain’s new bus shelter ads, which give off heat and release the aroma of freshly baked potatoes.

“I said before it wouldn’t be long before the trend moved out of retail locations and McCain got there first. But that’s not the only clever part of this campaign. Putting aside the initial (frankly genius) idea to apply scent marketing to outdoor ads, this is another great example of how to turn an innovative advertising campaign into a great PR story. You only have to google “McCain bus stop” to see the reach already and I’m expecting this one to grow and grow. Hats off to all involved.”