Looking to capture a bigger slice of the South Korean coffee market, Dunkin installed sound-activated smell dispensers in public buses. Every time the “Dunkin Donuts” played over the bus speaker system due to a radio ad, the smell dispensers wafted coffee into the bus.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better example of an advertiser doing operant conditioning… Pavlov would be proud. Doubly insidious is the penchant for memory to retain smells better than the other senses, strengthening the effect.
Now Dunkin has taken to filling its shops with ultrasound, which is less inaudible than most people think (see earlier links) and may have psychological effects.
Lifehacking: Researchers have found a link between theta-band brainwaves and beating your own instinctive biases. Biases, in this case, being things like conditioned responses and addictions.
Some months ago I noted that 4Hz (in the middle of the theta band) brainwave entrainment resulted in neat things happening in dreams. Perhaps this provides a degree of explanation for that effect…
“Last year the company deployed smell dispensers in buses, triggered by the sound of the Dunkin’ jingle to dispense the scent of freshly-brewed coffee, resulting in an uptick in sales (near bus stops) of 29 per cent according to this equally upbeat presentation.”