Cannes Lions

Sense Your Aroma

AKQA , Tokyo / LION / 2019

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Aroma Rich fabric softener was launched in 2010 with a mission to provide well-being and comfort to Japanese women. In 2018, LION adopted a new sales strategy that enabled women to create their own aroma by mixing the 5 products in the range. But soon discovered that the majority found it hard to find their favorite blend on their own. To help women in this quest, we created a first-of-its-kind sensory journey where women could easily discover their favorite scent. Its objective was to allow them to experience the effect of wearing a personalized scent on their clothes during summer and encourage them to use Aroma Rich at home. Those who could not attend the 4-day installation were invited to participate in the personalized experience online.


The creative idea was a first-of-its-kind sensory journey, where with only taking one photo, visitors were able to effortlessly discover the Aroma Rich blend that suited them best. The target was Japanese women around their 30s dealing with the summer heat. Based on a correlation that exists between the colors and scents an individual prefers, a full body analysis integrated with machine learning determined the color ratio of each visitor’s clothes and correlated their preferred scents. The color analysis result was illustrated in real-time onto a folding fan, traditionally known in Japanese culture as a symbol of summer. Visitors could smell, see and feel their signature scent for the first time, as the perfect gift to beat the heat.


LION had not fully addressed a consumer pain point in their latest sales strategy for Aroma Rich: the majority of women could not find their favorite blend on their own. Our challenge was to develop an automated system that could easily identify the favorite scent of any given individual. The creative idea arose from the fact that Aroma Rich fabric softener is a product intended to be used for clothing, thus we considered that a women’s choice of color for clothing was the perfect starting point to identify her favorite scent. After visiting the event or mobile microsite, women would be able to easily make their personalized blend at home as well as be reminded of their experience and sentiment towards the brand as they glimpsed at their uniquely-designed folding fan. Our creative use of technology strongly improved product usage and the experience of each consumer. Not only did our solution identify olfactory preferences hidden in the unconsciousness of an individual’s mind but also helped them visualize their personalized scent, which is by nature naked to the human eye.


Under Tokyo’s humid climate, a cool and quiet interior welcomed visitors with fresh breezes of scented air from an 18m wall decorated with motion-sensitive folding fans. The highlight of the event was based on the concept of providing aroma blends and folding fans custom-designed to the taste of each individual visitor. With only 1 full-body shot, we developed a system that could analyze the color ratio of the visitor’s clothes and correlate their preferred scents. The analysis was projected in real-time onto the wall and onto a blank folding fan. The blank folding fan would be digitally colored in a beautiful illustration whilst printers were set up with a special mold to print the same colored illustration including the visitor's name directly on another fan. Within 7 minutes, the visitor would be gifted both their tailor-made aroma blend of Aroma Rich and the uniquely-designed folding fan.


We only displayed billboards for 7 days at the nearest station to the venue, but it soon became the talk of Internet & TV programs, cited 134 times. The equivalent in paid media would usually have cost us 100M JPY. Even if the venue could only host 50 people at the same time, we attracted 1,219 visitors in 4 days. In 1 month, 10,569 women had participated in the experience on the website. As a result, Lion’s KPI doubled and 92.9% of women felt a positive change of attitude towards the brand.

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