Will Albertsons smell success with its Philadelphia Cream Cheese promo?

Discussion
Photo: Philadelphia Cream Cheese
Apr 19, 2022

Select Albertsons-owned stores in Chicago and New Jersey are testing the use of scented diffusers that pump in the aroma of freshly baked cheesecake in dairy aisles near designated coolers filled with Philadelphia Cream Cheese to inspire baking over the Easter season.

According to a release from Philadelphia Cream Cheese’s parent, Kraft Heinz, about 500,000 cheesecakes with Philadelphia Cream Cheese are made during the Easter season (running this year from April 17 to June 5).

The test at the Jewel-Osco and Acme locations will determine a broader rollout.

“We want to show consumers how our immersive experience goes beyond just taste, and we saw this sensory activation as an exciting opportunity to bring that idea to life in a retail environment,” Keenan White, senior brand manager for Philadelphia Cream Cheese, told Advertising Age. “This is a first of its kind test for the brand as we think of new and interesting ways to invite consumers to dive into Philadelphia’s multisensorial brand experience.”

Kraft Heinz’s statement noted that sensory experience marketing tends to be more common in non-food retailer locations and restaurants.

Research finds that humans are 100 times more likely to remember something that they smell than something that they see, hear or touch as the sense of smell is more closely linked to emotional recollection. A pleasing smell can also uplift a person’s mood.

McKinney, the ad agency, listed sensory marketing among its top food trends for 2022. The firm wrote in its study, “Food brands, particularly in the QSR space, are finding fun and creative ways to bring their brand experiences to the nose. Today, a PR stunt, but tomorrow this could be the next form of branding beyond sight or sound.”

Starbucks, Cinnabon, Pandora, Samsung and Bloomingdale’s are among those cited for employing scent marketing, but its use appears rare for grocers. Abercrombie & Fitch reportedly still infuses its stores with its Fierce scent, despite undergoing an extensive makeover in recent years and past complaints of the aroma being overwhelming.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Does scent marketing, such as the cream cheese scent trial being conducted at Albertsons locations, make sense for grocers? What’s your overall view on the pros and cons of scent marketing for retailers or food establishments?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"Freshly baked french bread or cookies scent to attract customers? Yes, it does work and works well. Why not test cream cheese?"
"Scents and the remembrance of scents generate resonances of feelings from long ago — good or bad. That is where the grocer must be cautious."
"I can think of a lot of aromas more appealing (but glad they didn’t go for bagels and lox scent – love the food, not the smell)."

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11 Comments on "Will Albertsons smell success with its Philadelphia Cream Cheese promo?"


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Bob Amster
BrainTrust

It might. Malls have infused aroma into their air purification system to relax shoppers.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

Scent is our most memorable sense; one whiff takes us back to wherever we first encountered that smell. It’s comforting.

Aromacology enhances the customer experience and has been a big part of in-store marketing for a while now. It’s perfect for grocery stores. I like cream cheese; I can’t tell you what it smells like, but this is a good move for Albertsons.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

Scents are very personal, bringing sensory impact with them. Walking through the mall or airport as Cinnabon is wafting well beyond the Cinnabon store, it makes me want to buy. For me, it especially works in airports. But for my wife, it is an absolute turn-off.

Scents and the remembrance of scents generate resonances of feelings from long ago — good or bad. That is where the grocer must be cautious. Scents can chase people away as well as get them to buy. The scents also come with a story already planted in people’s minds. The scent of fish in the seafood section tells a lot about how fresh the entire store is.

Richard Hernandez
BrainTrust
Richard Hernandez
Merchant Director
7 months 11 days ago

Freshly baked french bread or cookies scent to attract customers? Yes, it does work and works well. Why not test cream cheese?

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

This is a story of a store check I made back in the ’70s. There was a new A&P that boasted a fresh bakery. They wafted the aroma of fresh donuts to the entrance of the store. I headed directly to the bakery. Strangely, I no longer smelled the donuts. More strangely, there was a large display of private-label packaged donuts in front of the bakery.

Dr. Stephen Needel
BrainTrust

I’m not sure I’d judge the success of this idea based on cheesecake. I can think of a lot of aromas more appealing (but glad they didn’t go for bagels and lox scent – love the food, not the smell).

storewanderer
Guest
7 months 10 days ago

I get the smell of roasted chicken, french bread, or cookies … but Cheesecake?

I guess if you like Cheesecake….

You’ve already ruled out kids and dogs from getting excited over the smell.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest

Although pleasant (and rather vague) aromas like the scent of warm bread can create a positive environment, I think trying to tie it to specific products is a bridge too far. And it’s pretty much a one-off. The last things anyone wants is a store filled with overpowering and conflicting smells.

James Tenser
BrainTrust

Actual bakery aromas — bread, vanilla, etc. — are pleasant for most, but not all shoppers. In modern stores, I believe most of those scents are removed using exhaust systems, to protect workers and shoppers.

Artificial fragrance diffusers may elicit a range of responses ranging from delight to disgust. Tread carefully on this one.

How will lactose-intolerant shoppers respond to a cream cheese scent aura? I suppose that is one of many questions Kraft Heinz will try to answer with this trial promotion.

On the plus side: This promotion seems to signal that the great cream cheese shortage of 2021 is now behind us.

Brad Halverson
Guest

Interesting choice in cream cheese. Can’t yet think of anyone who gravitates to this smell?

Last time I evaluated these aroma systems with an upscale grocer, most oils still didn’t replicate food very well, not authentic enough. Most grocers I know have taken a hard pass on these because it’s ultimately better to waft real fresh baked bread, cookies and cinnamon to customers.

And so I’d argue in favor of an authentic customer experience — what customers can smell and sense as real vs phony to maintain brand credibility.

Derek Lee
Guest

Scent marketing has proven effectiveness, but I’m wondering if Kraft will see the ROI that they’re seeking here. Famously, Disneyland has been using the scent of fresh baked cookies on Main Street USA to increase sales, and it works.

But I ask myself, if I smell cheesecake, would I be inclined to buy a package of Philadelphia cream cheese? No, I’d be a lot more likely to buy a pre-made dessert in the bakery, in the same way others have cited fresh bread or the rotisserie chicken at Costco. I’m skeptical that this promotion would do anything for CPG, especially an ingredient like cream cheese.

Unless Kraft is sponsoring the ready-to-serve cheesecakes in the bakery section, I don’t see how they’re coming out ahead on this one.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Freshly baked french bread or cookies scent to attract customers? Yes, it does work and works well. Why not test cream cheese?"
"Scents and the remembrance of scents generate resonances of feelings from long ago — good or bad. That is where the grocer must be cautious."
"I can think of a lot of aromas more appealing (but glad they didn’t go for bagels and lox scent – love the food, not the smell)."

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