Stop of controversial advertizing campaign: Renewing smell culture as taboo culture!

Hornbach is a Geman DIY store chain offering home improvement and do-it-yourself goods decided to stop and withdraw the recent campaign “The smell of spring” after being criticized for promoting racist and sexist stereotypes.

The video alludes openly to numerous stereotypes, facts and myths of urban life as discussed earlier.  In fact, the video affects prejudices against the European (in particular German) male population (“butterstinker”) as well as non-European cultures.

 

How to make sense of the decision from a scent culture point of view?

The withdrawal of the campaign highlights the precarious status of the sense of smell in contemporary culture. The sense of smell has been silenced throughout history. Playing with this taboo is part of the provocative and communicative potential of the original video. Accordingly, the decision to stop the campaign renews deeply rooted beliefs: Smell culture is a taboo culture. This is a message every advertizer can learn from this story.

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