Ad Age: Pillsbury Pumps Cinnamon Roll Smells Into Movie Theaters

Excerpt: Scent appeal. At several movie theaters across the country, the ads really smell—like cinnamon rolls. Pillsbury is pumping the delicious scent into 25 theaters as part of a campaign that attempts to spark sales for its refrigerated dough by linking cinnamon roll smells to holiday memories. The scent is emitted during an ad that plays before the “The Grinch” and other family films.

The technology comes from movie theater ad company Screenvision Media. The ads target markets that over-index on fridge dough sale, including Minneapolis, Baltimore, Des Moines, Detroit, Kansas City, Memphis and Nashville. While different, scented movie theater ads are not new. Back in 2008, Ad Age covered a European campaign for Nivea that involved pumping the scent of sun cream through theaters while an ad showed a sunny beach scene.

General Mills-owned Pillsbury is also running two-page ads in Parents and Better Home & Gardens that have a scratch-and-sniff feature. The brand is attempting to measure if the ads amp sales. But since the movie ads just started running on Nov. 23 and the print magazines are the December issues, there’s no data to share just yet. The push also includes scent-free national TV spots and online posts. General Mills worked with Joan on the creative and Mindshare on media. It all continues the “Made at Home” theme General Mills began using for Pillsbury in late 2017.

To see the movie theater ad, check out Ad Age’s Marketer Brief column here.