‘Waftvertisements’: To smell or not to smell is the question

How many times have you opened your post box to find a bulk-mail advertisement, that, or paged through a magazine and, all of a sudden, your nose detects (sourced from an ad, of course) a perfumy scent; a fragrance so powerful that you’re now wishing that what just happened, quite honestly, had not? Trust me; you are not alone. Been there, done that.

Arriving at the front mailbox there are hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of pieces of mail I receive each year. Sad it is that much of what arrives doesn’t have staying power, in this instance meaning such getting no more than a cursory glance if that, all of that ending up in the circular file – that’d be the recycle bin. I remember the personal computer’s early promoters making certain declarations like the electronic marvel resulting in society becoming paperless, not to mention it simplifying life. While I can’t speak to the latter, as to the former, well, needless to say harvested are trees for the production of such.

Okay, so back on topic, I have absolutely no qualms about admitting that a lot of what arrives at my post box is destined for the recycler and let me tell you, if I didn’t receive these mailings in the first place I would not miss this stuff in the least; in fact, I wish I didn’t get it at all, but that’s neither here nor there because the distributions just keep coming. And the promotional material spritzed (infused, actually) with a hint (yeah, right) of fragrance, for example, as far as I’m concerned, I can’t part with it fast enough.

Inhaled odors, depending on what they are, can prompt in some conditions like post-nasal drip, coughs or worse. What is being described here is alternatively referred to as “hypersensitivity.” I’ve written about this before.

What I know for a fact there are people whose aroma, odor, smell tolerance levels are low and in some cases, these may be completely non-existent. A real problem for some this is. Meanwhile, others can be allergic and have adverse reactions; the kind that require hospitalization.

Coming down the pike?

In contemplating the future, imagine if there were such thing as “smell-a-vision” and we viewers/listeners/smellers (sorry, I couldn’t resist) got nostrils full of every imaginable aroma, fragrance, odor, smell, stench, stink you can name under the sun and those unimaginable ones too – some pleasant, others less so. Personally, I’m glad that’s not the case, but if it were, disabling that feature would be high on my list of priorities just to avoid the experience. It’s either that or I would go totally without. At any rate, it is not something I have to worry about.

Your guess is as good as mine as to what’s next on the horizon advertisement, flyer, promotional realm-wise or what scented magazine insert or piece of mailed correspondence will arrive and what smell may be infused into such. I can see (excuse me – smell) it now: Bacon, coffee, detergent, fabric softener, roses (for flower-delivery services), are all possible. Nothing is off the table even if the preference is to avoid whiffing, period.

So, don’t be surprised if in the future you or someone you know gets a scratch-and-sniff and upon its being uncovered, elicited is the following response:

“Hey. That really does smell like chicken!”

Image above: Robert Kaufmann, FEMA Photo Library

– Alan Kandel

1 thought on “‘Waftvertisements’: To smell or not to smell is the question”

  1. Talk about smells. I saw an advertisement, could’ve been a gag (no pun intended), that promoted bacon smelling deodorant. I cannot imagine this being a high demand item, but then, you never know.

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