There Are More Scented Ads in Magazines this Year

Strip Search Yields More Perfumed Ads But Fewer Fragrance Dollars Overall

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Hearst's Cosmopolitan has run more scented ads than it did last year.
Hearst's Cosmopolitan has run more scented ads than it did last year.

Magazines have been more fragrant than usual this year. During the first six months of 2014, magazines ran 17 more perfume and cologne ads with scent strips than they did a year earlier, good for a 10% increase, according to a report from analytics firm MediaRadar.

The report, which looked at 177 consumer magazines, found 296 total scented ads. That amounted to 629 total ad pages for fragrance brands. Dior Parfums placed the most ads with scented pages, followed by Chanel, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and Chloe, according to MediaRadar.

Among magazines, Hearst's Cosmopolitan ran the most ad pages with scents or samples at 48, followed by fellow Hearst title Elle and Time Inc.'s InStyle, each with 42 pages.

"The best way to have women buy fragrance is to have them smell it," said Donna Kalajian Lagani, senior VP-publisher of Cosmopolitan. "The most efficient way is through magazine scent strips."

But that doesn't necessarily mean publishers also smelled more dollars from these brands. Despite the uptick in scent strips and samples, there were actually 13% fewer fragrance ads in magazines during the first six months of 2014 compared with the same time a year earlier.

So why are there more test strips but fewer overall ad pages? It's partly about the return on investment, said George Janson, managing partner and director of print for Group M. "We know that in-book scenting generates trials and pays off in terms of ROI," he said.

"Plus," Mr. Janson added, "no one has really figured out a way to sample digitally."

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