Oscar Mayer says it has developed a device that will emit the smell of bacon when plugged into an iPhone and it has launched a website with a slew of bacon-themed content to encourage consumers to apply for a chance to get their hands on it.
In what sounds like it could be a potential April Fool's prank, Oscar Mayer says it is giving bacon lovers the opportunity to transform their iPhones into bacon-scented alarm clocks with "the first-ever iOS device that allows early risers to wake up to the delightful smell of bacon without lifting a frying pan."
And it seems to be legit.
"It's an interesting idea and certainly having a phone-based interactive smell component as part of a mobile service is a novel thing," says Joe Laszlo, senior director of the Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence at the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).
The device, Wake Up and Smell the Bacon, syncs with the Oscar Mayer Wake Up and Smell the Bacon iPhone app to emit "the scent and sound of sizzling bacon" when "the rooster crows," or, presumably, when it is time to get up.
Users can rotate the digital skillet to select a wake-up time and "then get ready for a bacon awakening beyond [their] wildest imagination."
According to the brand, in order to use the bacon scent feature, consumers must plug a detachable device into the headphone jack of an iPhone.
Wannabe users are invited to apply for a chance to get their own bacon scent devices on the Wake Up and Smell the Bacon website from March 3 to April 4.
"The device will not be sold in stores and quantities are limited, so fans are encouraged to apply early and often," Oscar Mayer says.
The Official Bacon Beta Tester Entry Form for the device gives consumers multiple choice questions and asks them to describe their love for Oscar Mayer bacon in three words.
Those who do not receive a device can still use the free app to wake up to the sound of bacon and to find "amusing bacon sayings" or "baconisms," the brand says.
"It feels like kind of a funny app, but...as brands think about how to forge deeper relationships with customers, having a place on a mobile phone is definitely a way to forge that deeper relationship," Laszlo says.
In addition, apps that do something useful for consumers – such as Wake Up and Smell the Bacon's alarm clock function – are more likely to have staying power than apps with games, Laszlo adds.
The Wake Up and Smell the Bacon website also allows consumers to watch a bacon-filled video, which had 105,000 views as of March 7, and to "Explore the Scent," which provides factoids about Oscar Mayer bacon, like, "Oscar Mayer bacon is sliced with the cleaver of destiny for your morning's finest aroma" and "Cured for 12 tender-loving hours, our bacon stands the test of time and space."
According to Oscar Mayer, Wake Up and Smell the Bacon is "the latest strip of ingenuity" from the Oscar Mayer Institute for the Advancement of Bacon, or OMIFAB, an "online hub for bacon innovations from the Oscar Mayer brand."
Previous OMIFAB campaigns include Oscar Mayer's Say It with Bacon campaign, an e-commerce site that encouraged consumers to give the gift of bacon for Father's Day.
OMIFAB says it was founded "generations ago, with the mission of creating a better bacon strip and forging a brighter bacon future."
The site also includes a video from Phil Roudenbusch, the "cut and design chief" and "visionary leader" of OMIFAB.
Oscar Mayer has 888,000 likes and @OscarMayer has 10,000 followers. It is using the hashtag #AwakenToBacon to push the alarm.
Winning applicants will receive the device six to eight weeks after applications close. Fans may apply for their chance to win the device once a day.
"I wouldn't hazard a guess how many will download the app or enter the contest," Laszlo says. "Still, for those that do, it may become the regular way they wake up in the morning, and that's good from a branding perspective."
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Lisa Lacy is senior staff writer at ClickZ. In addition to ClickZ, her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.
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