Vinita Bhatia
Jun 11, 2024

When an ad winningly targets the nose, not the eyes

Swiggy Instamart’s recent ad is a prime illustration of leveraging scent marketing to establish a memorable brand identity.

The Swiggy Instamart ad that appeared in Times of India on 2 June.
The Swiggy Instamart ad that appeared in Times of India on 2 June.

It was a regular Sunday morning and I was perusing the newspaper while enjoying my coffee. Suddenly, the smell of mangoes seemed to permeate the room. Strange, I thought, since I knew that we woefully did not have the fruit in our household.

Yet, the tantalising aroma continued to tease my senses. It took me a few minutes to realise that it was springing from the newspaper. Or more precisely, from the front page ad that Swiggy Instamart had issued in Times of India (TOI).

This clever ad, paired with the delightful scent of the king of fruits, was a great call to action to stock up of mangoes before summer came to an end. It was also a hat tip to the evocativeness of an advertising tool called olfactory marketing. 

This promotional strategy has been around for a while now, with hotels and retail stores having a lead on it. Just think back to how one is compelled to enter a beauty store guided by the gentle scents of lemongrass or citrus. Or the soothing notes of lavender in a hotel lobby that makes you want to spend more time there. 

Companies have embraced the power of scent-based marketing to attract customers through their doors, shape consumer actions, and elevate brand perception. When executed effectively, this strategy has the potential to enrich the buyer journey, foster stronger brand allegiance, and ultimately drive revenue.

By infusing the TOI newspaper with the sweet smell of mangoes, Swiggy Instamart’s ad managed to create a strong sensory connection. It was summed up with a simple message—‘Read this ad with your nose’—with the assurance that they could satiate a customer's mango craving within 10 minutes, which is the quick-commerce platform’s unique selling platform.

Talking about what triggered the idea for this campaign, Swiggy’s chief growth and marketing officer, Ashwath Swaminathan, told Campaign India, “If there’s one thing Indians love about summer it’s the mangoes. We all love its smell, colour, taste and texture; whatever be the variety we get locally across India. We wanted people to get their favourite mangoes on Swiggy Instamart, but we wanted to do it in a way that evokes the sensorial delight of mangoes. Hence, the team came up with an innovative print idea that gives people the fragrance of the mango in addition to a visually appealing ad. Everyone loved the idea instantly and had a lot of fun in bringing this to life.”

To execute this campaign, the quick commerce company worked closely with its media partner, Havas Media Network. The agency facilitated the entire execution piece through TOI newspaper, since the latter had undertaken other olfactory marketing innovations in the part. The two entities worked closely to pull off the infusion process, which took two to three weeks.

Ashwath Swaminathan, chief growth and marketing officer, Swiggy

The ad featured an assortment of the fruit’s variants—from Ratnagiri, Banganapalli, Kesar, Totapuri, Dasheri, and Badami. The intent was to be as close to ripe delicious mangoes as possible.

Swiggy tested multiple fragrances and finally chose one that was the closest to different versions of mango tastes and fragrances. It also checked on how long the fragrance would last on to ensure that it lingered much after the newspapers reached people’s homes. “In fact we had people telling us how their apartment corridor was smelling of mangoes,” Swaminathan joked.

The quick commerce company stated that the campaign had an extremely encouraging impact. “Because of this ad, we saw over a two times jump in mango sales in Mumbai alone on the day the ad went live (2 June). We expect the higher sales to continue until the monsoon arrives and the alphonso availability goes down,” Swaminathan confidently claimed.

Campaign India

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