This is what we learn through an article in the ABC News: "Gino Biondi, the chief marketing officer for ScentAir, the company that developed the scent for Sony and makes the diffusers, says the smell of vanilla puts women, typically intimidated by electronics, at ease, while the mandarin denotes class. The bourbon is there for the guys. "It basically enhances the environment for a first great impression," says Biondi, whose company serves everyone from Express clothing to Mandalay Bay Resorts".
But scent in general aids consumerism. A study appearing in the Journal of Consumer Research, affirms that scents improve consumers' memory in relation to products, according to scientists at the University of Michigan and Rutgers University. The co-authors Aradhna Krishna, May Lwin and Maureen Morrin claim that scented products perform better in info memory tests vs. non-scented products. "This occurs even though the product scent is not reintroduced at the time of recall, and even when memory is assessed as much as two weeks after product exposure."
Martin Lindstrom, author of "Buyology: The Truth and Lies about How we Buy" gives some examples of how specific odours act subliminally and how they're used: Vanilla is considered comforting due to its evoking breastfeeding milk, therefore "making you feel childish, young, energetic" while wood reflects a back to nature, earthy, solid, classic set of values. On the other hand fruit is summery, thus making people feel "more open-minded, happy and sexual", while lavender affects the heart beat by slowing it down thus making people linger longer in the stores. Cigars and leather are the perfect choice for banks and law firms, apparently, as these odours reflect "conservative values" (supposedly people in power having the money to afford the smell items, I'd presume, so you feel like you're in the hands of authority and successful monetary churning). Several companies from fashion to cars (and even real estate) work with these guidelines in mind and the trend is only going to expand.
Pic via blog.se-nse.net