Carmakers Use Scents to Attract Customers

May 7, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. tempt /tɛmpt/ (v.) – to encourage someone to want (or do) something
Example: Stores use pleasant scents to tempt their customers into buying their products.

2. scent /sɛnt/ (n.) – a specific odor
Example: Your car has a good leather scent.

3. standard /ˈstæn dərd/ (n.) – an acceptable level of quality
Example: Toyota has a fixed standard when choosing car parts.

4. refresh /rɪˈfrɛʃ/ (v.) – to make something fresh again
Example: The driver refilled the perfume dispenser to refresh the scent of the car.

5. tactic /ˈtæk tɪk/ (n.) – a plan or procedure to reach a wanted result
Example: Our company uses a referral tactic to hire new employees.


Read the text below.
Carmakers are appealing to buyers’ sense of smell when marketing their product.

Carmakers, like Mercedes-Benz and Audi [OU-di], are working on ways to tempt buyers into buying a car by using pleasing scents and limiting bad ones. Mercedes-Benz evaluates the car parts’ smell to ensure that it fits their standards. Meanwhile, Audi has special teams that inspect their cars for chemical odors.

Hartmut Kovacs, head of Mercedes-Benz’s interior emission team, explains that the car’s odor is the first thing a buyer notices while inside the car. The company now offers specialized perfume dispensers in their vehicles to refresh the scent inside of the car.

Carmakers are looking for the right car scent, because the sense of smell has a strong connection to people’s memories and moods. Scientist Annick Le Guerer [a-NIK le ge-RER], who has written a book on smells, explains that certain scents can remind a person of happy memories. Thus, carmakers believe that scents can affect a buyer’s desire to stay longer inside a car.

However, if the scent is too strong or does not appeal to the customer, it may become a problem. The smell of cars or stores has to be strong enough to attract a customer but not too strong to offend others.

Using scents as a sales strategy is called “scent marketing.” It aims to connect the brand or product to a scent. A store can initially attract customers using a scent and reinforce the pleasant feeling through other factors like lighting and sounds. Aside from carmakers, cafés like Cinnabon and Starbucks use this tactic to attract and keep their customers.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         If you could choose any scent for your car, what would it be? Kindly discuss.
·         What factors do you consider when buying a car? Kindly explain.

Discussion B

·         What kind of businesses do you think would benefit most from scent marketing?
·         Do you consider scent marketing innovative? Why or why not?

May 7, 2015