Air Wick’s Scent Decorator Campaign Pairs Hard Science With Gamification

Air Wick and Droga5 have created a scent-selecting, BuzzFeed-style quiz to help sell smell in the largely visual digital space.

Air Wick’s Scent Decorator microsite, which was created by Droga5, prompts users to click on three images that represent the mood they hope to create in their homes. Selecting the images gives users a quiz-style result, such as “Uplifting” or “Enchanting.” The results page not only gives Air Wick product recommendations based on results, but also includes DIY projects and decorating tips from top home décor bloggers.

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While Scent Decorator is interactive and gamey, the project is actually much more scientific than most hastily thrown together Internet quizzes, according to Allison Eve Zell, senior content strategist at Droga5 who worked closely with Air Wick’s data scientists to create the quiz results.

“Air Wick has internal experts on scent that have performed extensive research with thousands of people mapping these scents and moods,” Zell says. “We read the results of those tests, so we weren’t just making this up. In terms of style, we definitely talked about BuzzFeed because that’s the style, but we have hard science behind the quiz. Air Wick provided us with research on mapping mood with scent categories, and they took those moods and tied them to types of people in terms of market research, to associate scent with things like color and texture.”

Air Wick market research linking different scents to particular moods, color, and texture informed the images that Droga5 selected for the quiz. Images play a big part in the campaign, both because they work well online and because our brains subconsciously match scent to image. “Our sense of smell works before language, so the impetus of the idea is that if scents form images, the tool should, too. Pictures also perform better online,” Zell says. “The impetus for the campaign was there in the science.”

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The science of matching scent to mood isn’t quick. Droga5 and Air Wick worked on mapping the Scent Decorator for a year before launching the site, says Jen Lu, art director for the Scent Decorator site. “It has been a year in the making. We came up with the line ‘Home is in the air.’ Then with that in mind we made a tool to inspire consumers to create moods for their homes,” Lu says.

The masterminds behind Scent Decorator are quick to point out that the site is a tool rather than a quiz, and while gamification has its place in marketing, games have to add value to create engagement digital marketing.

“The difference between a game and a tool is that a tool is useful for the consumer, even though the site has a game feel,” Zell says. “Making [digital campaigns] easy and fun is always the way to go.”

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