Leveraging City Smells (for marketing purposes)

Do you associate the city of Parma (Italy) with scent of violets, or Bufallo (US) with the aroma of Cheerios™, or the city of York (UK) with the smell of horse hair & hoof oil? According to a new paper in the journal marketing theory some people do, and this has helped to inspire marketing ideas based around the (previously overlooked) opportunities for olfactory urban ‘Place-Marketing‘.


“The leverage of smell in place marketing campaigns provides the opportunity to move beyond an ocular fixation in promotional effort towards greater limbic stimulation, thereby creating potential for consumers to have a stronger emotional response to, and immersive experience of, the place product itself.”

See: Marketing the ‘city of smells’ (scheduled for publication in the journal marketing theory.)

Question [optional]: Do you know any reliably smelly cities? If so, could the smell be leveraged, marketingwise?

Bonuses [alt. Bonii]:

● The Telegraph’s list of ‘The world’s smelliest cities’

● GQ’s list of ‘The smelliest cities on the planet

● ‘Stinky Maps‘ iPhone app. (cited in the paper).

● The map shows the Sulphur Bay area of Rotorua, New Zealand – an urban area, which because of its plentiful geothermal hotspots, is unignorably odoriferous. (Note: not cited in the paper, but featuring in the Telegraph‘s list above.)