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Make Some Sense of Scent Trademarks: The United States Needs a Graphical Representation Requirement
When it comes to consumer loyalty, some businesses have decided to go beyond attracting the eyes. Why not keep customers via their nostrils? Accordingly, the scent marketing industry is booming. Jennifer Dublino, Vice President of Development at ScentWorld Events, remarks that “smell is one of the most unique of human senses. Scent enters the limbic system [of the brain] and bypasses all of the cognitive and logical thought processes and goes directly to the emotional and memory areas of the brain.” Companies like ScentAir have been created specifically to help stores design fragrances that best fit their image and objectives as a way to increase returns on investment.
Science indicates that olfactory cues are more effective than visual cues at triggering memory. Scents’ strong ties to memory and emotions can make them a powerful branding tool. A study found that gamblers spent forty-five percent more money when there was a floral scent present around a slot machine than when there was not. Four hundred consumers, who were surveyed after shopping
in a Nike store, reported that a “pleasant ambient scent” improved not only their evaluation of the store and its products but the likelihood they would shop there again. Some human rights activists have even suggested that using scents to identify goods could be beneficial to those who are visually impaired and are not able to reap the benefits of visual trademarks.6 Overall, scents appear to both attract customers and increase their affinity to a particular good or service from a specific source, much like a mesmerizing logo or catchy slogan.
Gabrielle E. Brill
J.D. Candidate, 2022, University of Richmond School of Law
B.A., magna cum laude, 2018, Dickinson College