Baked Potato Smellscapes (Huh?)
February 8, 2012
Edible Geography author Nicola Twilley is no stranger to ‘smellscapes.’ In her blog, she has often discussed the olfactory aspects of the built environment and “the importance of smellmarks in urban placemaking” (new buzz words). But she probably didn’t see this one coming: as Europe is feeling its first winter frost of the season, some bus riders in the UK will be warming up to a multi-sensory, protruding fiberglass potato sculpture that heats up and releases a precisely engineered baked potato aroma upon the push of a button. The $2.2m marketing campaign strives to “arouse consumers’ senses and demonstrate, quite literally, just how delicious new McCain Ready Baked Jackets really are.” According to advertiser JCDecaux, the aroma took three months of research and development at a scent lab. Is this a mark of progress towards designing what Twilley called “intentional olfactory architecture?” If this is a push forward, let’s also work on improving culinary standards and get some bus shelters to teach us how to bake potatoes.