In our Mind Tripping Show, we talk about influence, specifically subliminal influence. So when I saw an article about what Dunkin Donuts (DD) was doing in Seoul South Korea, I had to share it with everyone. Here is a summary of what DD has done:

On some of the commuter buses, DD installed air fresheners that smell like DD coffee. It is connected to the radio so that when a DD commercial plays and the jingle is heard, the air freshener emits a spray of DD coffee so that it permeates the bus. The goal of DD is to get into the mindset of the Korean people that not only do they have donuts, but they have coffee as well. DD’s goal is to increase coffee sales and brand recognition of their coffee at bus stops.

Is what they are doing subliminal advertising? If you watch the video below, Dunkin Donuts tells you exactly what they are doing – they admit that they are trying to influence you to buy their coffee. They are out in the open about it. However, what if you did not watch the Youtube video explaining what they are doing? What if you were a bus rider and did not know the three things were linked –  the radio advertising, the jingle, and the smell of coffee? How would you feel? Is this any different than regular advertising?

And other question – did the experiment work? By Dunkin Donuts own admission, yes. Coffee sales rose 27% at the DD stores closest to the bus stops and brand awareness rose 16%. I think Dunkin Donuts is pretty happy about this.

What are your thoughts?