Ooh, That Smell

The smell of success may be more acrid than sweet at Animal Planet.

To get the attention of dog owners, the network’s U.K. channel is first going after dogs—by affixing ads that give off a dog urine scent to the foot of lampposts. When the pooch comes over for a sniff, the owner sees a larger ad above promoting Animal Planet’s new dog awards show.

“We’ve identified the ‘cocked-leg market,’ ” says Ed Staples, a spokesman for London PR shop Red Consultancy whose proper English accent makes it kind of comical whenever he says “dog urine,” which these days is quite often.

The artificial scent was created by Celessence in London, using technology called microencapsulation. Celessence usually develops nicer smells like washing powder and coffee. (“The aroma that you choose will last and last,” says its Web site.)

What was the client’s first reaction? “Laughter,” admits Staples. “But they saw quite quickly the value of talking directly to animals.”

It seems no one is pissed about the gross concept. “Here in Britain,” says Staples, “anything to do with pets is taken in a playful spirit.”