Scent of a taxi cab
Press on the cab, which was revealed at the recent New York Auto Show, described the multi-disciplinary teams involved in designing its myriad innovations. These included a panoramic sunroof to charging ports for digital devices to filtered interior air.
Having recently taken a ride in a NYC cab that had not one, but, FOURTEEN “Little Tree” scented air fresheners, the Taxi of the Future’s filtered air amenity cannot come quickly enough. Nor, based on my recent cab experience, have to work hard enough.
The charm of these felted paper “Little Trees” is instantly trumped by the scented assault of these “little terrors”. Their attack comes in fragrances ranging from New Car Scent, Vanillaroma, Woven Whites and, my assailant: “Xtra Strength” Wild Cherry. (As though fourteen air fresheners weren’t enough, they had to pack an even more pungent punch.)
Given how wrong scent can go in an experience, it is no wonder that we avoid considering it. However, given the power that scent has in making an experience memorable, it is a sense that we should actively focus on engaging. Perhaps our design practices could benefit from a day or two with a trained “nose” to help us understand the processes for defining and deciding upon a scent for our experiences. Wouldn’t it be an interesting exercise to follow how a “nose” goes about expressing a brand or a concept in scent?
No matter what, before we hail our Taxi of the Future, I hope its multi-disciplinary design team thinks to include a nose on the team. Or, at the very least, they bar every “Little Tree” from jeopardizing our fond memories of The Big Apple.