Pass the Scent Strip

Showtime Promotes 'Weeds' With Eau de Marijuana

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- HBO may love its Google Maps promotions for shows like "The Sopranos," but Showtime Networks knows the web can't do everything -- like run scent strips. So to promote the second season of "Weeds," Showtime placed a scent-strip ad in the Aug. 24 issue of Rolling Stone that evokes, well, a certain something.
'Weeds': Smells like hippies.
Click here to see entire ad.



"It smells like hippies wearing patchouli," said a MediaWorks colleague who got to sniff the ad. Close enough.

'The buzz factor'
"There was a lot of back and forth about the scent," said George DeBolt, VP-media, Showtime. "We wanted to have the scent be as close as possible to marijuana. It's the buzz factor, if you will."

Fragrance vendors, whose typical struggles include searching for scents that whisper "Britney Spears," were not exactly set up to deliver. There were no vials, for example, marked "Chronic," "Amnesia" or "Maui Wowie."

So the final scent selected may smell like pot getting smoked, or marijuana in a bag or even, yes, hippies, Showtime acknowledged. "It's not that the scent is precise," Mr. DeBolt said. "It's that it communicates the show and gets people to look up from the magazine."

Other elements of the campaign to promote "Weeds," which begins its second season next Monday, include ice cream trucks dubbed Weeds Munchie Mobiles that will show up at concerts and other events to give out "Weeds" merchandise, brownie distribution in busy areas of six cities (those would be brownies like your mom used to make, not your college roommate), and street vendors handing out coffee in "Weeds" cups.
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