Follow-your-nose advertising debuts in Japan

SINGAPORE – NTT Communications (NTT Com) has unveiled Japan’s first service that offers digital signs equipped with aroma-emitting devices.

NTT Com’s signs, branded as Kaoru Signage (aroma signage), combine the company’s Spot Media digital signage solution and Kaori Tsushin (fragrance communication) online service, which instructs specified Web-connected devices to emit mood-heightening aromas.

Through the service, the images and sounds are transmitted from the sign, while the fragrance is emitted from the Kaori Tsushin device through an online connection.

NTT Com believes this type of interactive signage could become a highly effective marketing tool, especially in venues such as retail stores, cafes and movie theatres, reflecting the growing trend to use aroma to strengthen the impact of marketing communications and enhance customer satisfaction.

The company engaged in several feasibility studies last year on the effectiveness of the sign. In the study, a leading cosmetic manufacturer used a digital sign to emit the aroma of roses and gauged that awareness of the sign was double that of signs that did not emit aromas.

Kaoru Signage also appears to stimulate customer purchases by gaining their attention. In one trial, a sign emitting the aroma of vanilla ice cream resulted in sales of soft ice cream some 1.3 times higher than in cases where signs without any aroma-emitting function were used.

NTT Com has used Kaoru Signage to create new environmental ambience as well. When used in hotels or showrooms, it will enhance the relaxation or concentration of customers due to its aroma-emitting function. One study showed that 80 per cent of those passing by felt more relaxed by the aromas being emitted.

The fee for the service starts at 157,500 yen (including tax) (US$1,435.00) for an aroma-emitting device (for small-area use) and its dedicated software. However, actual prices vary depending on transmission conditions. The strength of the fragrance can be adjusted, and depending on the scale of the environment, two different Kaori Tsushin aroma-emitting devices (for either small-area or large-area use) can be selected.

Using a broadband connection service, content for the video, sound and fragrance settings can be transmitted to multiple locations nationwide. The fragrance is based on basic aroma components commonly found in fragrances, and are not specialized aromas that suggest food or beverages.

NTT Com has started accepting applications for the Kaoru Signage service from companies involved in the advertising, marketing and promotion industries.

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