McDonald's Debuts New Billboards That Smell Like Its Iconic French Fries

Can you identify a brand just by its smell? It’s quite likely, given the strong link between smell and taste. When your taste buds perceive flavors and your nose picks up scents, these signals are sent to your brain. The brain then integrates these signals, allowing you to recognize distinctive smells, such as those you encounter at McDonald’s. The distinctive aroma of McDonald’s — particularly its iconic French fries — is deeply ingrained in our minds. Recognizing this smell often triggers cravings and us placing an immediate order. In an innovative marketing strategy, McDonald's harnessed this powerful scent by releasing the smell of their famous French fries into the streets of the Netherlands. In an outdoor campaign titled "Smells like McDonald’s," the objective was to demonstrate that fans can identify the Golden Arches solely by the smell of its food, without the aid of logos or packaging. The campaign was successful, as people were able to correctly guess the brand based on the aroma alone. Yellow and red billboards popped up in the Netherlands, each with a pull-out tray that included McDonald's fries, which pumped out its distinct scent. These billboards — with no logos — were intentionally located within 600 feet of a McDonald's, so people could indulge their cravings when they caught a whiff.