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June 07, 2021

Billboard spews scent of delicious, mouth-watering steak

1278099_steaks If you’ve ever driven eastbound into Toronto, there’s a stretch of road on the Gardiner Expressway – as the highway meets the lake and approaches the CN Tower – that just smells delicious.

It’s right near the Mr. Christie cookies factory, and if you catch that piece of highway at a good time of day, it’s like both him and Mrs. Fields are pumping the smell of freshly baked chocolate chip biscuits through your A/C vents.

The point? Smell is a powerful, powerful intoxicant. And if you were a food company, why wouldn’t you go about spreading your scent as a means to attract consumers?

Well, wonder no more. Introducing: the charcoal-pepper-and-steak-smell-spewing billboard.

Yes, the first scent-spraying billboard in North America has popped up in Charlotte – a towering ad for U.S. grocery chain Bloom, who is hoping to sell their new line of steaks by smell, not just reputation.

The way it works is simple, if not genius. According to the Charlotte Observer, a high-powered fan attached to the bottom of the billboard pole blows out the steak-and-pepper scent by pluming air over cartridges loaded with the fragrance.

The smell spews from the billboard, which features a giant fork stuck into a succulent piece of steak, up to 50 yards in diameter.

Bloom hopes to capitalize on its mouth-watering billboard by pumping the steak smell out during both the morning and afternoon rush hours. Charlotte motorists beware.

If there’s a reason scented billboards haven’t yet taken off, it’s because of tricky logistics, wrinkles that the Bloom steak board hopes to iron out.

For one, different weather patterns could render the scented fragrance cartridges useless, as one strong wind this way or that might not let you smell the intended aroma unless you’re standing right next to the ad.

But that doesn’t mean, with a little trial-and-error, this couldn’t be the future of roadside marketing. Somewhere, the nation’s truckers are nodding in agreement.

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...