Case Studies

Dale Air and Advertising

“Innovative Lancashire Manufacturers create a little bit of advertising history“

It took the spirit and creative flair of 2 small Lancashire businesses - Dale Air and Merlyn Electronics - to find a way to meet the challenge from McCains, the potato people, To create a bus stop advert for baked potatoes. But it wasn't just a regular ad- the idea was to allow those waiting for the bus to smell the aroma of that classic meal- in the bus shelter! 

Merlyn Electronics have a burgeoning reputaion for creating innovative interactive adverts whilst Dale Air are best known for creating the horrible smells at Yorvik Viking Centre in York and the London Dungeon! They were starting with virtually a blank sheet of paper and time was against them.

Matt Ward from Dale Air commented, " Merlyn and ourselves built confidence in each other quickly around the need to act speedily to meet McCain's aspirations- the team at Merlyn knew the limitations of the bus stop and the ad board. They trusted me to find a route to blow the smell into the enclosed area as well as finding the correct aroma that would give people the genuine scent of baked potatoes on a busy urban street. The machine and aroma was created within 4 weeks- from scratch.

Luckily, Dale Air is part of the successful Anglo Family group of businesses, all based on one site in Whitworth- so I was able to call on the expertise and help in engineering and procurement I needed to meet a tight deadline"

Anglo family Group MD Simon Macaulay takes up the story, " It is really reassuring to me to see how two excellent Lancashire family businesses continue to offer real  innovation- Jonathan Eagle at Merlyn and our own Matt Ward should be proud of what they have achieved. Both have burnt the midnight oil to achieve this excellent result. We at Dale Air shared our knowledge and ideas with Merlyn- neither of us has flashy premises but we know there is a great network of skills in the Manchester area- and this is a good example, to me, of how manufacturing in the North West is undergoing something of a revival. This time around it isn't about big companies employing lots of people but is about small family businsses with expertise in their own specialist areas and the ambition to work hard to show real innovation"

The good news is that the ad's are working well- consumers really can smell baked poataoes in the bus stops in large UK cities. In addition the innovative campaign is causing a storm in the industry-and is certain to be much copied- all the hard work has been worth it!"

Another example of the work Dale Air is responsible for is the Kenco campaign in the image below. Our dispenser was built into the red box on their promotional milk float and surrounded celebrity guest, Claire Sweeney and the Kenco crew with an unmistakeable coffee aroma.

Dale Air and Museums

One of the great appeals of the Jorvik Viking Centre in York, UK is that the visitors have the opportunity to see, hear, touch and even smell the exhibitions.

“Use of aroma has been integral to the Jorvik experience since it opened twenty years ago. Our relationship with Dale Air, from the beginning, has made the smell experience at Jorvik one of the most unique memories for the Jorvik visitor.

Their quality of service and standard of product has been an essential part of our success. Our continued relationship with Dale Air has firmly established the use of aroma in our attraction and the development of new products for our retail.”

Dale Air and Theatres

“The aroma’s in the theatre added another dimension to our cutting edge drama production. The audience feedback was very positive and we look forward to using a variety of aromas in forthcoming productions and theatre studies”.

“We used 2 Dale Air Vortex machines; one we strategically placed in an entrance area which filled the theatre foyer, and corridors with a subtle smell of heather. In our 450 seat theatre we positioned another machine near a main entrance door to again achieve a subtle background aroma of heather and bracken. The machines are easy to use and can be programmed very simply. At Westholme we are always looking at ways to improve and enhance what we do, with Dale Air we have found an ideal partner”.

Research in Cognitive Psychology

Our research focuses on the existence and independence of an olfactory short term memory, and the strategies people use to represent odours when they are no longer present. Study of olfactory memory not only contributes to our understanding of memory as a whole, but also has important links to our survival, where the safety of foods is determined by their smell. There is also evidence that our ability to remember and represent olfactory information is impaired substantially in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, or mild cognitive impairments. If this is the case, then tests of this ability may contribute to the early diagnosis and treatment of this disease.

We use olfactory stimuli from Dale Air Ltd. for a number of experimental procedures. These include tests of sequence memory, tests of identification and naming ability, and tasks where participants must make comparisons between different smells. Using the wide variety of available scents, and normative data we have collected in previous studies, we can control for factors that can affect recognition ability. For example, we can present participants with a stimuli set that is high or low on pleasantness, familiarity, or a number of other dimensions.

Andrew Moss – Bournemouth University – Postgraduate Researcher in Cognitive Psychology

Symphony of Senses

Our organisation, Eye Music Trust, has been lucky enough to win a bid to the Arts Council to present our tour around England of our new production “Symphony of the Senses”

The project aims to create a new Symphony of all of the human senses - light, sound, touch, and smell/taste.

The light part is very easy for us because everything happens within our labyrinth of intense colour and light called Colourscape. The music was created from human sounds (a vocalist and a flute player) and processed live through computers to make a whole orchestra of new musical sounds based on heartbeat, breathing, harmonies, and human vocal sounds.

The touch part of the Symphony has been provided by two dancers and also a specially-designed “touch-sound-painting” made from conductive paint on Perspex that is “played” by the computer musician touching colour areas to control the computer sounds.

The final piece of the jigsaw was smell/taste and we contacted Dale Air for help with this. They recommended their aerosols and provided eight different fragrances that would link to the different sections of the Symphony and to the Chakras that underpin the structure of the symphony. As well as Sea Breeze for “water” and “Mown Grass” for the green fragrances to connect with the Heart Chakra they proposed “Penguin Vomit” (!) for the stomach (Yellow) section.

To distribute the fragrances we simply sprayed the fragrances onto coloured fabric and sealed into plastic bags. The dancers unsealed the bags and took out the correct colour fabrics at the right point in the music. As they danced and spun around the labyrinth of Colourscape the fragrances dispersed through and mingled with the public and the sensations of music and colour. As Colourscape is air-inflated the fragrances naturally dispersed out of the environment after ten minutes so that there was little mixing of smells.

The effect on the public was even stronger than we imagined. The strongest reaction was obviously to “Penguin Vomit”. We had been a little concerned about releasing such a strong and unpleasant fragrance on an unsuspecting public but actually the reaction was extremely positive. First facial expressions of disgust quickly changed to laughter and delight as the movements of the dancers and the sounds reflected the strong odour. As the next fragrances for “Red” (roses and patchouli) were released people were wafting the fragrances towards them from the dancers to actively take part in the experience.

This event was the talk of Stroud (our first event of the Symphony of Senses over August Bank Holiday) and by the end of the four-day event we had 2 hour queues of people with umbrellas waiting to get in out of the typical English Bank Holiday weather!

Simon Desorgher
Director, Eye Music Trust