Oh, don’t you love the smell of 2-Acetyl-1-pyrroline?

Today, a marketing lesson from the kiddo:


What he is talking about, here, is the role of smell as a stimulus.

Smell (and other stimuli like colour, temperature, or sounds) can create an affective response in shoppers. This can either be a direct emotional reaction to the stimulus (e.g., the smell makes us feel hungry); or an indirect one, via cognitive associations (e.g., the smell activates pleasurable memories).

The stimuli can also trigger negative responses, of course, such as making us feel anxious (dental surgery, anyone?), sad, or repulsed… which marketers want to avoid at all costs.

And stimuli also interact with each other, too. For instance, this very interesting study found that the smell of sweat is less disgusting when it comes from an item of clothing associated with a group that we support (e.g., our university, or our favourite sports’ team).

So, as you can imagine, the field of ‘store atmospherics‘ is, actually, quite important in marketing. Not sure why the kiddo learned this in a maths’ lesson, though.

And talking about the kiddo, he agreed to film this short video only on the condition that I promote his blog. And as like to keep my promises, here we go: if you can, please check his “AWSOME BLOG“.


UDPATE May 10th 2016: I just came across this article, that may interest you.

Rimkute, J., Moraes, C., & Ferreira, C. (2016). The effects of scent on consumer behaviour. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 40(1), 24-34.


9 thoughts on “Oh, don’t you love the smell of 2-Acetyl-1-pyrroline?

  1. Estate agents advise sellers of houses to bake some bread and make some fresh coffee just before a viewing by a potential buyer as it ‘enhances’ the selling process. In fact, warming some flour in the oven produces a similar aroma to baked bread. One company sells these aromas in a spray can! It is aimed at house sellers. (http://sensorydecisions.com/sell-house-home-fast-kit) As far as I can tell (which is not far) there has not been many, if any, studies of aroma and house selling. perhaps this is a new area of research.


    1. Tim, Tim… your comment sent me down the rabbit hole of search on google and EBSCO. Many hours later, I can confirm that you are right! While there are numerous newspaper and blog articles claiming that the smell of coffee and freshly baked bread helps to sell houses, as far as I could see, there is no actual research that proves (or disproves!) this belief. Isn’t that interesting?

      The only thing that came close to it, was some market research commissioned by one housebuilding firm. That study concluded that, for new builds with little to no furniture, the most effective scent was a mix of white tea and fig. More here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2583472/Forget-coffee-fresh-bread-perfect-smell-sell-house-WHITE-TEA-FIG.html


      1. When I read your reply my first thought was, if you obtain the funding, I will do the research. My second thought was, the practicalities of carrying out this research are too great that it probably cannot happen. It needs greater thought, some background work perhaps and breaking down into smaller practical size pieces of research. Would the Department of Architecture be interested? Anyway, thank you for spending time following up this idea. I appreciate the hours you must have spent. I know how they speed by when you are researching. We can discuss this further when I next see you.


      2. I suspect that the research is proprietary to the supermarkets that commission it. Why would they bother to publish it. There is a similar situation when it comes to the use of music in retail: the only publicly available studies are generally masters theses.
        We used to shop in Asda, Aberdare (south Wales), one of the biggest stores in the UK. There was the smell of fresh bread at the entrance, and you could see the pipework stretching to the far corner of the store where the bakery was – a distance of about 150 metres. You can see the same thing in other supermarkets – they go to great lengths to pump the aroma to the front of the store – I see the same thing in most of the larger supermarkets I visit.
        Locally, though, Lidl uses a simpler strategy: their instore bakery is situated right at the entrance.

        Liked by 1 person

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