Scenting success

Quebecers celebrating the beginning of apple season were given a little surprise when they received a newsprint flyer from drugstore chain Pharmaprix.An ad for a Pharmaprix/Coca Cola/Chrysler sweepstakes included a picture of a bright red apple which, when rubbed lightly, gave...

Quebecers celebrating the beginning of apple season were given a little surprise when they received a newsprint flyer from drugstore chain Pharmaprix.

An ad for a Pharmaprix/Coca Cola/Chrysler sweepstakes included a picture of a bright red apple which, when rubbed lightly, gave off an apple scent.

Innovative

Courtesy of Montreal-based Transcontinental Printing, those receiving the apple were experiencing ‘Touch and Smell,’ a new printing process that allows advertisers to add scent to paper.

The ‘Touch and Smell’ process was developed two years ago in Germany by Schubert International, a company known for its innovative printing processes.

Transcontinental immediately snapped up the Canadian licence.

According to Transcontinental general manager Andre Dion, the process is simple.

Transcontinental’s Touch and Smell labs can chemically simulate any scent: lemon, perfumes or even fresh-baked cinnamon buns. The only limit is the client’s imagination.

Once the client has chosen the scent, it is contained in tiny microcapsules in press varnish. The varnish is then applied directly by the press onto the paper. Any press can be used, on any paper.

The smell is released when the scented area is touched or rubbed. A chemical reaction causes some of the microcapsules to break and release the scent for a short time.

The scent fades quickly, until it is touched again. According to Dion, the scented patch will continue to work for several years.

Until recently, the only way to reproduce a fragrance in print media was to use a scent strip.

Drawback

The process was used mainly by perfume manufacturers advertising in fashion magazines, and was costly.

Dion says because of the simplicity of the Touch and Smell process, it will cost only $12 to $20 more per thousand to add scent, depending on the type of varnish, the type of paper and the scent.

It will not delay production either.

Dion says another drawback of the scent strips was the strength and persistence of the odor once the strip was opened.

Some consumers experienced negative reactions, causing several magazines to set aside for those who requested them, copies with no scent strips.

The Pharmaprix flyer demonstrates the non-obtrusive nature of the process.

The scented patch does not smell at all until it is rubbed. It then releases a scent which disappears almost immediately afterwards.

There is no more evidence of the scent until it is touched again, and the surrounding paper is not affected at all.

Because the odor is contained, several scents can be printed on the same page, without interfering with each other.

In a soon-to-be-launched marketing campaign, Transcontinental will demonstrate its product to potential clients with four scents on one page.

The Pharmaprix ad confirmed that the process works on newsprint, and Transcontinental is going to concentrate on marketing the process for use in flyers.

However, because there are no limitations as to the type of paper used, any print advertising can now incorporate the process: catalogues, magazines, newspapers and direct mail brochures.

It is conceivable, for example, that a specialty food manufacturer could infuse its catalogue with the scents of different product lines; or a car manufacturer apply to its direct marketing brochure the distinctive scent of a new car.

Dion says the process has met with great success in Europe and Australia, and adds Transcontinental is confident advertisers in Canada will take advantage of the ability to add a little extra ‘pungence’ to their print campaigns.