Have you ever seen those Dove-brand chocolate commercials on TV—the ones where dense pools of melted milk chocolate fill the screen and turn into vortexes of luscious, velvety goodness? Well, one day soon, you may be able to smell that chocolate as you’re watching it.
Scented television is in development, so get those nostrils ready for sensory experience of a generation!
Studies in this particular domain of advanced tech have yielded promising results, and thanks to the dedicated minds at the University of California (working with the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology in Korea), the first step has been taken. A research team recently delivered a “proof of concept” report demonstrating how the technology could work. They apparently developed a small, circuited device capable of housing thousands of specific scents and compact enough to attach to the back of a TV set.
Here’s the actual “proof” part: according to an official release from the university, “The UCSD team tested their device with two commercially available perfumes, ‘Live by Jennifer Lopez,’ and ‘Passion by Elizabeth Taylor.’ In both cases, a human tester was able to smell and distinguish the scents within 30 centimeters of the test chamber.” Sounds to me like it works. Now, if they can replicate the tantalizing aroma of a 20-ounce porterhouse from Outback Steakhouse, they might just have a commercially viable product.
A new technology is all fine and dandy (and admittedly exciting), but the application of said technology is where the fun really begins. It’s easy to envision how advertisers would use scented TV to their advantage: they’d pair the onscreen images of their products with the corresponding scents and laugh themselves all the way to the bank. Product placement would no doubt take on a whole new level of effectiveness as well, particularly for restaurant chains featured on programs.
Of course, a more interesting way to look at it is from a creative standpoint, which is where the possibilities really present themselves. Think of it like this: if you’re a television producer, and you want your program to give viewers a truly unique and immersive experience, how would you apply scented television to your programming? As one article puts it, we can look forward to enjoying “the exhaust during a car chase, [the] fresh grass during a football game, or the aftershave of Mr. Darcy.” And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to odors…
Here’s the real question: is scented television something that consumers are ready for?
Scented TV would allow us to become immersed in our programs in an entirely new way. Then again, it’s also an entirely new investment. At some point, we’ll have to ask ourselves when enough is enough. Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen huge gambles in the technology arena pay off big time (iPad, anyone?), but there have been a few misfires as well. 3D television sets, for example, are still struggling to gain traction among consumers. Would “scent-boxes” for TV sets fail to catch on as well? I suppose we’ll have to find out for ourselves if/when they hit the market.
Hey, remember when TV was black-and-white and there were only three or four channels to choose from? Yeah, me neither.
What are YOUR thoughts on scented television? Yay or nay?
Image by: digitalart