Why do noses make us happy?

Terry Jacobson

“Without a sense of smell an apple would taste like a potato...”

Terry Jacobson is CEO of scent marketing consultancy Allsense and the fabulous Oo La Lab, a pop-up fragrance design and mixology concept that allows you to create your own unique fragrance. Terry’s company creates unique scents for shopping centres, airports, hospitals and boutiques - as well as specific whiffs for events and advertising campaigns. In his narcos-style silver briefcase Terry carries samples of scents including bubble gum, baby powder, and cola (I swear you can smell the bubbles).

After sight, smell is understood to be the most powerful of senses, and it is also the closest linked to memory and emotion. That sounds like a powerful recipe for persuasion, which is why scent marketing is being embraced by brands and businesses seeking to find a direct path to our emotional brains. Turns out, that path is right up your nose. So Terry, why do noses make us happy?

Noses don’t understand the word happy…

…in fact they don’t understand words at all. They deal mostly in feelings which are more often than not tied back to memories both old and newly minted ones. There’s nothing like a passing whiff to release a flood of nostalgia. 100% pure memory and emotion.

What we smell adds context to our environment, heightens expectation and delivers on surprise. In a way it’s an emotional rudder, steering us forward via an instinctive rhythm of sniffs and snorts.

Without a sense of smell an apple would taste like a potato.
So bring your nose out into the world and take it all in because the day we start to confuse potatoes with apples will be a sad day for all.

Terry Jacobsen, A Curate's Egg
Terry Jacobsen, A Curate's EggTerry Jacobsen, A Curate's EggTerry Jacobsen, A Curate's Egg

Let's talk