Dunkin’ Donuts Uses ‘Flavor Radio’ to Turn Korean Bus Riders into Pavlovian Pooches

Hear jingle, smell coffee, buy Dunkin’ Donuts. Repeat ad infinitum.

That’s the basic premise behind an ad campaign tested on public buses in Korea earlier this year. Using sound-sensing scent sprayers, Dunkin’ Donuts’ “Flavor Radio” would unleash the smell of coffee on unsuspecting commuters after hearing the chain’s ad and jingle. Played right before a stop with a Dunkin’ Donuts location, the ad sent listeners off with the following dialogue (in Korean):

Woman: I got coffee for you, too, honey!
Man: Wow! Where did you get this? It smells delicious!
Woman: At the Dunkin’ right here!
Announcer: Dunkin’s coffee is waiting for you right at your stop.

Cue the jingle, the subsequent scent-fest and more than a few surprised sleepyheads eager to quench their thirst right at the next stop. Despite the arguably invasive technique, such visceral approaches apparently really work, with visitors at stores on routes with the scent dispensers increasing by 16% and coffee sales at those locations increasing by 29%.

Unfortunately, there have been no plans announced to bring such subliminal psych-olfactory public transportation trickery over to the States, but if that changes, we’re all ears. Or noses. Whatever.

Here’s a video explaining the process:

[Via The Atlantic]