VGL’s fruity Tube job has the sweet smell of success

Jez Abbott
Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Commuters at Oxford Circus London Underground station rarely come up smelling of roses, but they almost definitely picked up the scent of strawberries recently.

Reading-based Vinyl Graphics (VGL) printed scented posters for an advertising campaign by Pernod Ricard for the launch of Beefeater Pink. Outdoor media agency Exterion Media asked VGL to produce giant posters for the two-week campaign that started around 14 May.

What was produced?

VGL printed four 11x1.5m strawberry-scented exit corridor posters, along with wall panels and vinyl wraps for the escalator. It used its 5m-wide Durst Rho 512R UV roll-to-roll digital machine to print the images, while a water-based UV varnish infused with strawberry scent was overprinted with VGL’s screen press.

What did the job entail?

The job took about four days to print and install. The images were printed onto a Lahnpaper 200gsm performance dry poster paper – London Underground no longer allows wet posting on the Tube. 

The posters were printed as usual, but the clear varnish was mixed with a synthetic strawberry aroma that comes in gel form supplied by the Aroma Company based in Wallingford, Oxfordshire. The scent gel is approved by the International Fragrance Association (IFRA) for use in products such as candles and face creams.

What challenges were overcome?

“This is the first time we have worked with this type of scented material and as far as I know the Oxford Circus job was the largest to date,” said VGL key account manager Jon Helm. 

“Though the printing was like other jobs we have done for Exterion Media, the scent was an additional process and we had to be careful to get the mix right. The key is to get a strong enough smell without it being too overpowering – Transport for London was very strict the scent must not be too strong.”

What was the feedback?

Client feedback was “very positive”, said Helm, whose £15m-turnover business employs 120 staff. Exterion Media is toying with more scented poster campaigns.

Exterion Media creative solutions director Richard Simkins said: “We’re constantly working on the research and development of new products to launch across our estate, to deliver standout brand moments and enhance customer experiences. This campaign demonstrates the growing creative opportunity on the TFL Rail Estate.”

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