An advertising kiosk equipped with a 42-inch LCD screen has been wafting out supposedly enticing smells to passers-by in the underground mall of Tokyo Station. A company called Recruit Co Ltd. is marketing the Scent-emitting LCD Display System developed by NTT Communications.
The hope is that people will be attracted by the scent, stop to watch a commercial, and then pick up a coupon book to use for the real version of the supposed deliciousness their nostrils had just encountered.
NTT Communications has been searching for real-world business applications for this technology, testing it in stores, hotels, and cinemas. In 2005 the company, uh, fragranced, Japanese moviegoers for the Colin Farrell film The New World.
So, is smell-o-vision finally coming to our everyday lives? Will we be able to mosey around our local mall and pick up coupons for that awesome chocolate chip cookie stand that is on the other side? Are we doing John Waters and his Odorama proud?
Growing up in California, I've been in plenty of malls. From experience, I can tell you the most overwhelming scent known in modern malls is that of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. Nothing else even comes close. Which, I suppose is why this idea could conceivably take off. I mean, how do you fight a chocolate chip cookie? You don't. Once you've smelled them, they own you. But if you can manage to protect that valuable real estate right in front of your nose, and safeguard that air from any and all delicious-smelling intruders, you might, just might, have a chance. This technology admits that the battle has already been lost, and not only puts you in direct contact with the sweet-smelling foe, but also gives you a discount on buying its eventual goodness.