Since the Kansas City Star’s dated misadventure into 1950’s-like 3-D in last Sunday’s newspaper, several people have asked my opinion of the promotion.
Was I impressed? Yeah, but not in a good way.
I was embarrassed not only for the paper but also for the people I know still working there.
Had the Star been able to utilize today’s widely accepted 3-D process which uses polarized glasses, the promotion would’ve been timely and fun.
But making use of the old red and blue-green lens process makes one wonder who—pardon the pun—greenlighted the stunt in the first place. And whether or not that person or persons actually had a clue?
Newspapering is a tough biz to be in these days and it was Halloween, so some brainiacs at the Star wanted desperately to be timely. Not realizing their edgy Sunday product was embarrassingly dated and decades out of touch.
And since gimmicks are the order of the day, I’ve got another promotion from the past the Star can try?
That’s right, Smell-O-Vision.
It’s on the old Smell-O-Vision process employed by producer Mike Todd, Jr. in his 1960 offering, SCENT OF MYSTERY during which up to 30 different smells were activated in theatre seats during the movie.
The smells were triggered by the film’s soundtrack.
Other attempts at smelling the movies had large blowers blast certain aromas into the auditoriums at predetermined times—a bitch to get rid of after the shows were over.
What I think could really work for the newspaper though would be a scratch-and-sniff process later developed and introduced by filmmaker John Waters for his early 80’s opus POLYESTER, starring Tab Hunter and Divine.
Each patron was handed a card containing 10 numbers.
Then 10 times during the showing of POLYESTER a notice would appear in the movie advising viewers to ‘Now Scratch # 6.’
And guess what? If there was gunfire on the screen, rubbing # 6 would give off the smell of gunpowder.
They called it ODORAMA.
Now imagine with me a future Kansas City Star promotion using Odorama.
*** Scratching a number on the Hy-Vee grocery ad might give you that fruity air of bananas.
*** Or for the seafood sale at Price Chopper, a simple scratch and – voila — tuna!
*** The Firestone tire ad could produce the smell of burning rubber.
.*** And for Victoria Secret – hey, use your imagination!
Odorama, a great futuristic promotional idea for the newspaper and it’s only 3 decades old!
And here’s the best part of the deal; it actually would work!