Stop and smell the…fries? McDonald’s Netherlands unveils the world’s first scented billboard

The customer always "nose" best πŸ‘ƒπŸŸ

The salty whiff of warm fries from the Golden Arches is legendary β€” and now McDonald’s is asking you to smell its walls to prove it.

Strolling around the streets of Utrecht and Leiden recently, passersby could smell a series of blank red and yellow billboards before seeing them, Food & Wine shares.

READ MORE | Dutch Quirk #106: Go to the snackbar after a night of drinking

That’s because the fast-food giants teased the Dutch public by diffusing the famous scent of their much-loved snack in an advertising experiment asking them to follow their noses. πŸ‘‡

The idea for aromatic billboards was cooked up by Amsterdam-based agency TBWA\Neboko, in collaboration with production company RaΓΊl&Rigel.

The secret to the intensi-fried smell

The logo-less billboards keep a lot out of sight, which is why using your other senses becomes even more important.

The iconic smell wafts from a hidden compartment containing the fries, which are kept fresh and flavourful by an internal heat-and-ventilation system.

Of course, if tempted (and hungry), the ads were strategically placed just down the road from a McDonald’s, where a Happy Meal could be yours for real.

McDon’t be fooled

Whether the smell entices or repulses you, this pong isn’t permanent in the streets of the Netherlands.

The billboard experiment was just used to capture the confused reactions of suspicious sniffers on film, before asking them if they recognised the scent.

READ MORE | Snackbars in the Netherlands: the ultimate guide

And recognised it they did β€” just like a familiar perfume can trigger memories of a person who wears it.

That emotional attachment to smell is exactly what McDonald’s is targeting (so, they want our noses AND our stomachs).

Stijn Mentrop-Huliselan, the Chief Marketing Officer of McDonald’s Netherlands, explained that smell is “more effective at sparking clear and emotional memories than images” and hopes this ad “found a new way to remind people of Good Times at McDonald’s.”

Would you recognise the smell of McDonald’s fries? Let us know in the comments below.

Feature Image:McDonald's Nederland
Lottie Gale πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§
Lottie Gale πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§
Lottie joins DutchReview as an editorial intern after gaining a Bachelor’s in English from her native England. She continues to pursue all things literature in her MA Literature Today at Utrecht University. She is loving life here, and the ever-looming rainclouds often make it feel like a home from home. Lottie arrived to complete her studies and hone her writing skills β€” she’ll stay for the Dutch tranquility, tulips and tompouce.


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