There's something in the air along a busy Charlotte area road, and it's not just exhaust fumes: It's the smell of grilled steak, courtesy of what appears to be the nation's first scented highway billboard.
The Bloom grocery chain, part of Salisbury-based Food Lion, hopes to catch shoppers by the nose by wafting black pepper and charcoal smells from the base of a sign along River Highway (N.C. 150) in Mooresville.
And though businesses have been employing specialized aromas to boost sales and create ambiance for years, this, it appears, is a different frontier - one designed to cut through the clutter that commuters encounter every day.
After all, you can tune out noise. You can disregard other signs. But a new smell? "It will definitely catch your attention, because we have to breathe," notes Harald Vogt, founder of the Scent Marketing Institute, a New York-based independent consultancy.
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