Concord Litho appeals to buyers' sense of smell

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Independent printing company Concord Litho has found that the way to the consumer's heart is through the nose, creating ads smelling good enough to eat.

The company produces scented varnishes that advertisers can place on coupons, buck slips, statement stuffers, consumer packaging, free-standing inserts, posters, greeting cards and other print materials.

"The customers who are most interested in our products are ad agencies and anyone in charge of brands for food or scented products," said Ali Westcott, marketing and communications director for Concord Litho, Concord, NH. "We began an official testing site more than three and a half years ago."

Fragrances are available in several categories including wintertime holidays, citrus, food and drink, herbal, musk and aromatherapy.

Concord Litho can also arrange for marketers to have their own custom signature scent in about five to seven weeks from Scentisphere LLC, Valhalla, NY. The process that begins at scent selection includes the creation of the varnish, testing, submission, approval and manufacturing of the final varnish and shipment to Concord Litho. Pricing varies for in-stock and custom scents based on quantity, the size of the scented area and the overall piece design.

How it works

There is no scratch and sniffing with Scented Varnish. Flint Ink makes the varnishes in conjunction with Scentisphere using a new-patented microencapsulating process called FolcoScent.

The makers claim fragrances applied with this technology remain stable up to 10 years, under a wide range of environmental conditions. Concord Litho suggests advertisers use the technology on inserts placed within magazines sent to doctors' offices.

The varnish is clear, colorless and nontoxic ink that's applied directly on paper. Glass-coated or dull-coated papers are suited best for scented varnish products. Most applications of the varnishes meet the requirements of various statues under the Code of Federal Regulations.

In particular, magazine publishers are required to meet statute 39 USD 1001 of the Code of Federal Regulations, which requires that substances be protected from being accidentally activated by the reader to safeguard against an allergic or otherwise adverse reaction. The only exclusion is magazine covers, which are restricted unless over-wrapped or polybagged.

The marketing applications

Concord Litho markets the varnishes to advertisers who are launching new products featuring flavors or scents, associating their brand with a positive fragrance, sprucing up seasonal mailings or want to lift response rates.

Some of Scented Varnish's most recent ventures included a gingerbread cookie-scented holiday card, a chocolate-scented brownie square insert for Domino's Pizza and a Chocolate Labrador mailing piece that promotes Concord Litho's technology. Rufus the Chocolate Labrador smells like chocolate and is sent to marketers requesting more information about the company as a sample piece.

"We placed the inserts [of the Chocolate Labrador] in Direct magazine and then after some trial and error and when we felt comfortable, we did the Rufus [the chocolate lab] mailing campaign," Ms. Westcott said.

Concord Litho works with both commercial and nonprofit companies.

"The perfect example is when Domino's wanted to launch its new brownie product," Ms. Westcott said. "We had high fragrance samples that were 10 percent cheaper than traditional scented strips."

Annual sales of Concord Litho products exceed $40 million, with more than 60 million sheets of gift wrap, 50 million calendars, 1 billion greeting cards and more than 100 million magazine inserts and statement stuffers produced every year.

The product development team is currently testing new phosphorescent ink as well.

On Feb. 14 Concord Litho introduced its doubled-sided holiday gift-wrap, which featured red and pink hearts.

"We produce the wrap on economical presses," Ms. Westcott said. "It allows for nonprofits to have a campaign that's not just a single holiday wrap, but one that can be used for all occasions."

Concord Litho is a corporate sponsor of the Direct Marketing Association. It is also able to mail to people on the DMA product sample list.

"We are pretty lucky, because we have a lot of crossover between commercial and fundraising," Ms. Westcott said. "So we are always trying to find new things that are still economical."

The printing company has idea kits available to marketers all year round. Idea kits include a catalog of scents, a sample and background information on a company.

"Scent makes things more interactive and is linked to triggering the memory," Ms. Westcott said. "With that feature we are able to stand out to the up-and-coming young consumers."

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