Oh great. With all the allergies and asthma around, we gotta deal with this too? Wait for the lawsuits...just wait...

Odors, such as that of coffee, can nudge our brains into making pleasant associations, studies find. (Spencer Weiner / LAT)

Opportunity blooms
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When Verizon introduced its Chocolate cellphone last summer the seductive aroma of chocolate wafted through its northeast stores, and customers sniffed out a good deal.

In 2006, when ScentAndrea, a scent marketing company in Santa Barbara, put chocolate scent strips on 33 vending machines in factory break rooms in Ventura (plus a sign that said it was Hershey's candy people were smelling) the brand's sales tripled.

And in 2005, when Exxon On The Run convenience stores in North Carolina highlighted a new brewing system with coffee scents from ScentAir, a scent marketing company in Charlotte, coffee sales perked up by a healthy 55%.

Just three examples of "scent marketing," the scintillating strategy that nosed its way into Advertising Age Magazine's Top 10 "Trends to Watch in 2007."

Stores and product designers devote countless hours and dollars to such matters as the color and shape of a package or the precise arrangement of items in the aisles of a store, the better to coax shoppers to linger, purchase and impulse-buy. Now, scent marketers say, it is time to turn to the nose. "Most marketing -- 85% -- is visual," says Harald Vogt, founder and chief marketer of the Scent Marketing Institute in Scarsdale, N.Y. "Scent marketing is the last frontier."