Chocolate chip cookie scented bus shelters will spring up in California to treat commuters to an unexpected multi-sensory experience. A new twist on the GOT MILK? advertising campaign will tantalize bus riders with the smell of chocolate chips in an effort to reinforce the connection between mild and holiday treats.


The cookie smell will emanate throughout the shelters with the help of olfactory scent sampling technology — MagniScent(R) — which disseminates smell via scent-infused adhesives affixed to the inside of the bus shelters and undersides of the benches.

"Retail and hospitality industries have used scent marketing to attract and retain customers for years, but integrating scent sampling into outdoor advertising is new for the American market," says Robert Lauterborn, professor of advertising at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The California Milk Processor Board have launched the scented bus shelters in five high-traffic, centrally-located downtown areas of San Francisco Bay Area, but the campaign will end after the month of December.

It is likely to create good feelings among the riders, as well. At least one study has shown that the scent of baked goods makes people more generous. Homeless people asking for money outside shops where cinnamon buns were baking, collected far more donations than those outside shops that had no tantalizing smells. Maybe it’s a reminder of what it’s like to be a kid again.


  1. Good smell – but good news?
    I bet the diabetics and weight watchers aren’t so happy about this one… But the drug company that makes a weight-loss drug that deadens the sense of smell is probably pretty psyched!

  2. If it feels good…
    I told my family about the bus stops and that I was thinking about adding the story to GNN-i, but I wasn’t sure if it constituted good news” …

    11 year old daughter: Good News should just be something that makes you feel good.

    I hugged her

  3. Good smells in general can be good news
    Supposedly the combination of apples, vanilla, and cinnamon scents can calm most Westerners to a measurable degree. It’s certainly a favorite candle scent of mine. In cities, I think a lot of social abrasion could be averted by getting rid of BAD smells in the public transit system. Smell is underrated as a means of setting the tone of a place, I suppose in part because so many people have environmental sensitivities that are exacerbated by just about anything.

  4. Apples, vanilla and cinnamon…
    Mmmmm. I just love the scent of cinnamon and apples.

    Our dd (dear daughter), 11, was making molassas cookies and found the smell of the cloves to be transformative! She put a jar of ground cloves on her Christmas list!

    When I was out Christmas shopping yesterday I went into two rest rooms, one in which the smell was appalling and you could sense it even before you got in there, and another, smelled so good. It would be so easy for the mall to put something in there… and keep everyone’s spirits high.

  5. Tom Robbins Novel uses smell as main theme
    Has anyone else read Jitterbug Perfume??

    That book is one of my favorites. Robbins features New Orleans and the ancient art of perfumery to create a very funny and entertaining romp.

    I think it was there that I first read the notion that smell and memories are chemically linked in our brains. One whiff of some smell and an entire memory, feelings and all, comes flooding back from beyond.

    Highly recommended… check out the wikipedia entry for the book:

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