Clever Creative: The Scents of Adventure

When you're looking for a travel destination you usually make a choice based on images of the place. But Thalys is changing that.

Clever Creative: The Scents of Adventure

Posted Wednesday May 24th, 2017 by in Creativity + Art.

When you're looking for a travel destination you usually make a choice based on images of the place and whatever else you may see. However, the railway operating company, Thalys, is changing that old standard in today’s “Clever Creative.”

A brightly-colored cartoon toucan once said, “follow your nose,” and that’s the scent-ament (sorry, had to) that Thalys’ newest promotion is trying to get across. Through innovative techniques, they collected scents that capture the essence of each of the destinations their trains travel to and offered passersby the opportunity to smell tubes filled with scented beads. Then, they could then find the scent on the map and book their trip to that location in the same moment. This new and unique way to promote travel definitely instills the scents of adventure in anyone willing to stop and smells the rows of tubes.

Why our GEMites liked this Clever Creative:

When you travel, you don’t just use your sight to experience the location. Of course it plays an important part, but there’s more involved. You listen to the different sounds, you taste the local foods, you touch whatever you can, and you smell the air and what’s in it. Each place has a unique fingerprint that is created by the mixture of all these things. One of the reasons your vacation pictures don’t have the same effect on the people you’re showing them to as they did for you when you took them is because they didn’t experience the sensory stimulus that you did in those moments. We love this ad because it captures some of those characteristics of a city that get lost in translation

We also love how unique the idea is: letting people choose their destination solely based on smells. Although, if they did this in the U.S., probably no one would want to go to New York City based on its scent. As marketers, you learn that purchases occur when there is the right mix for all the senses, especially when it comes to retail. Good lighting and visual display, enjoyable music, touchable fabrics and pleasant smells all play an important part in a customer's buying decisions. But why does that theory only apply to tangibles like clothing? Thalys had that same thought two years ago when they started this campaign using the sounds of the city, and now, the smells.

Why our fellow creatives should like this:

We’ve talked before about creating ads that defy the norm in a given industry’s advertising practices, and this one from Thalys is just another perfect example. Usually, travel companies show images and videos of people in the places they can get you to, or how enjoyable it is to travel using their company. However, there is no rule that states you need to stay in those parameters, which is why Thalys stepped out of them. Our fellow creatives should like this ad because of their bold decision to focus on a sense besides sight (the norm for almost every ad in any industry). We also think their idea to map out where the smells came from and give people the option to buy a train ticket to there in that moment is genius. It expedites the consumer buying process by taking them from problem recognition to purchase in minutes.

This creative’s unique approach to advertising was risky, but successful. Thalys’ ad instills the scents of adventure in not only its customers, but also other advertisers by beckoning them them to step away from the norm and be bold.

Let us know what you think, and be on the lookout for next week’s installment of Clever Creative!

If you’re looking for some clever creative of your own, feel free to contact us.


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