Woman receives ad from gas company with a natural gas scratch-and-sniff


‘Marketing goes wild in 2023’: Electricity company sends peel-and-sniff mailer that smells like gas

"Don't assume someone else has already called," ConEdison's postcard says.


Tricia Crimmins


Posted on Dec 26, 2023   Updated on Dec 26, 2023, 9:38 pm CST

An electricity company sent customers a peel-and-sniff mailer that smells like natural gas.

In a TikTok posted last week, Marissa Meizz shows “the most unhinged piece of mail” she says she’s ever received: A postcard from her electricity company, ConEdison, that includes the smell of natural gas on it in order to familiarize customers with the smell of the dangerous substance.

The mailer says “Smell gas. Act fast,” and instructs that if ConEdison customers smell natural gas in their home, which “smells like rotten eggs,” they must leave and call 911. On the top lefthand corner, there is a peel & sniff section with the smell of natural gas.

“Don’t assume someone else has already called,” ConEdison’s postcard says.

In Body Image

In her video, Meizz sniffs the gas sample, which she says smells “crazy.” On Tuesday, Meizz’s TikTok had almost 830,000 views.

“Marketing goes wild in 2023,” Meizz wrote in her video’s caption.

@marissameizz marketing goes wild in 2023 #newyorkcity #coned ♬ original sound – MARISSA MEIZZ

Natural gas is odorless, and electricity companies add a rotten egg-like smell in order to make the dangerous substance detectable to customers. A 2023 report from the Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking on natural gas used to power appliances in the homes of many New Yorkers revealed that it can contain toxic air pollutants, like carbon monoxide.

Meizz told the Daily Dot that she was surprised to have received the material on gas from her electric company rather than her gas company, and that the postcard is helpful.

“The shocking part of it was how strong that little piece of paper smelled,” Meizz said. “So strong, that most people threw it away, forgot about it, and thought they had a gas leak!”

Many commenters on Meizz’s video said that they thought ConEdison’s mailer was clever and beneficial, too.

“This might actually be smart,” one commenter wrote. “Today I smelt something and wasn’t sure if it was gas.”

“This is actually pretty common and a good practice on their part,” another said. “So you can recognize the additive smell they put in your gas.”

“That’s amazing,” a commenter said. “We get some things really right in NYC sometimes.”

Another commenter said that the mailer was their “Christmas present from the gas company,” and many joked about wanting to smell the peel-and-sniff portion.

“The way I bolted to test this on mine,” a commenter said. “Why does it go SO HARD.”

The Daily Dot has reached out to ConEd via email.

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*First Published: Dec 26, 2023, 6:17 pm CST