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Now wake up and smell the newspaper!

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MUMBAI: Forget about smelling the coffee in the morning; newspapers have taken over than role as well.

Grab a copy of today’s TOI and sniff it... A familiar smell fills your nostrils; that of Johnson’s baby...

The front page advertisement reads: “Because only a smell so gentle can bring back memories that powerful.”

The innovation brings back childhood memories with just one whiff but it isn’t the only one. According to sensory branding experts, the best known brand smell in the world is that of J&J's Baby Powder.

Similar ads or ‘smellvertisements’ have been in existence for long except that they’ve hitherto been the domain of perfume and cologne brands and appeared only in magazines.

“Using smell in branding is a tool that only a few marketers use, yet smell is extremely powerful in affecting emotions and triggering memories, In fact, it is the only human sense that completely bypasses rational parts of the brain and connects directly with the Limbic system, a part of our reptilian brains that evokes immediate instinctive feelings. So when we smell, we do not think, we simply feel - instinctively and strongly,” says PipalMajik CEO CD Mitra.

Newspapers have joined the fray only recently, with examples ranging from a Sunday Times edition smelling of Bru Gold coffee to five editions of a daily bringing you the coffee variant of Hide & Seek Biscuits to mangoes being delivered at your doorstep last summer. Technology has played an important role in replacing run-of-the-mill ads with innovations that have become talking points for both consumers and advertisers.

According to Draftfcb Ulka NCD KS Chakravarthy (Chax), innovations bring the attention back to a familiar brand by doing something unexpected and novel. “In J&J’s case, the smell of J&J – especially the baby powder – is, to a vast majority of people, inextricably linked to the way babies smell. So it is a good way to re-emphasise the pre-eminence of J&J in the baby care area in an emotionally powerful, evocative way,” he says.

Havas Worldwide managing partner and chief creative officer Satbir Singh feels that though smell innovations aren’t new, today, no one expects to actually read the front page of a newspaper. “Print innovations have become a norm today. From full front page ads to verticals, there are many ways in which advertisers can catch the attention of their TG,” he says, adding that with so many brands available and most of them talking in the same manner to their TG, it becomes important for brands to come up with such innovations.

Parle marketing general manager Parveen Kulkarni says they were the first ones to do so when Hide & Seek Coffee was launched. “One needs to do something different to stand out otherwise one can easily get lost in the numerous advertisements today in the print medium,” he says. “Word-of-mouth is still the best form of marketing and for new entrants, innovations act as leverage.”

The print medium gives a lot more scope to marketers and agencies to come up with innovations believes Godrej Appliances executive vice president (marketing and sales) Kamal Nandi. But he is quick to add that there is potential in other mediums as well although there are limitations in each. “The only difference between print and electronic innovation is that, it makes the interaction more personal,” he says.

While marketers are quite happy with innovations, everyone agrees there needs to be a strategic objective behind them and they need to add more value to the brand than the premium the marketer pays for it. They also need to bring alive a unique aspect of a brand instead of just drawing attention to a me-too attribute. Readers meanwhile can continue to enjoy the innovations...

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