General Mills brings cinnamon scent to theaters during Pillsbury ad

The smell of freshly baked cinnamon rolls, which makes mouths water and wallets open, may soon waft through a movie theater near you.

With a new campaign for its Pillsbury refrigerated-dough products during the holidays, General Mills will give commercials in movie theaters an extra touch by pumping that alluring scent as cinnamon rolls appear on screen. Of the nearly 200 theaters where the commercials will air, about 25 will get the smelly kick, including seven in Minnesota.

“Think of it as a great big air freshener,” General Mills spokeswoman Tammy Swanson said. “It pumps on low during the commercial and then turns off afterward so the smell dissipates.”

The campaign, which started Nov. 23, marks the first time General Mills has employed scent machines in theaters to sell a product. The machines will have to be turned on and off manually and quickly — the commercials last just 15 seconds.

The scent is not derived from actual cinnamon rolls; it’s a cinnamon-based essential oil.

The commercials will run before “The Grinch” and other family-friendly films with a G, PG or PG-13 rating in coming weeks. Golden Valley-based General Mills said it is targeting U.S. markets where refrigerated dough products sell well.

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