This isn't just any old tyre. Sniff it and see why ...

Smells sell. Nice smells, that is. Meg Carter reports on companies on the scent of success

What should you buy the car driver who has everything? Well, how about rose-scented tyres - far more pleasing than the usual rubbery smell, says Sumitomo Tyres, the company developing the concept. It's a bizarre notion yet Sumitomo plans to introduce inexpensive fragrant tyres to the UK later this year. It is the latest in a growing trend among companies who now acknowledge that smells can sell.

"Rose-scented tyres will appeal to the luxury end of the car market, although they could be relevant across a range of other models," says Bob Heywood, marketing manager at Sumitomo UK subsidiary SP Tyres. "We believe it can give us a competitive edge." So confident is the company that its revolution in automotive technology will catch on that it has applied to register the aroma as a UK trade mark.

And it's not the only one. Six other businesses are now applying for aromas to be registered as trade marks under legislation introduced last year which allows smells, shapes, sounds and even colour to be protected under British trademark law for the first time. Other applications range from beer-flavoured darts to furniture flavoured with a hint of cinnamon.

"Smell is increasingly being recognised as an important part of selling because people aren't aware they are being manipulated by it," explains Richard Zambuni, deputy managing director at marketing specialists CLK. "It's no coincidence supermarkets pipe the smell of baking bread rather than fresh fish to customers as they walk in the door." But, increasingly, subtler arts are being employed.

This month, dry-cleaning chain Sketchley will pump the fragrance of mown grass and grapefruit around 70 of its stores in an attempt to emulate the fresh atmosphere typified by Next and The Gap. The aim is to disguise the smell of dry-cleaning chemicals, explains Nick Joslin, Sketchley's marketing director. "Of all the senses, smell is most closely linked to memory - a bad smell lingers."

BT is considering the potential for perfuming its public phone boxes. Meanwhile, CLK has developed the smell of fresh coffee beans for Lyons instant coffee. A sachet impregnated with coffee bean oil inserted into every lid is designed to break as the jar is opened. Zambuni sees significant potential in using smells in packaging: perhaps scratch 'n' sniff samplers of the product inside.

Smell works at a number of different levels, says Simon Dwyer, director of planning at consultants Harrington Oakes. "It can work by memory association. We have, for example, experimented with the aroma of suntan lotion in travel agents," he says. Or it can convey luxury or traditional values - "such as the aroma of leather wafting through the otherwise stark offices of a firm of solicitors situated in a modern office block". And it can relax or stimulate.

The strategic use of smells has significant potential, Mr Dwyer believes. "Shopping is only one part of it: smells can create an environment conducive to buying. But there are major applications for hotels, offices and even hospitals, where they could be used to reduce stress and increase recovery rates."

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Voices
Oscar Pistorius is led out of court in Pretoria. Pistorius received a five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide by judge Thokozile Masipais for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
voicesThokozile Masipa simply had no choice but to jail the athlete
Arts and Entertainment
Sister Cristina Scuccia sings 'Like a Virgin' in Venice
music

Like Madonna, Sister Cristina Scuccia's video is also set in Venice

Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004
music

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

News
i100
Life and Style
The Tinder app has around 10 million users worldwide

techThe original free dating app will remain the same, developers say

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Senior Pensions Administrator

£23000 - £26000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Corporate Actions Administrator / Operations Administrator

£25 - 30k: Guru Careers: A Corporate Actions Administrator / Operations Admini...

Customer Service Executive / Inbound Customer Service Agent

£18 - 23k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Customer Service Executiv...

ASP.NET Web Developer / .NET Developer

£60 - 65k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a ASP.NET Web Developer / ....

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album