McCain Foods is launching a £35m marketing drive that will include the roll-out of shelf-barkers smelling of baked potatoes.

Up to 500 Tesco and Asda stores are to be fitted with scented barkers from the end of September. Inspired by scented bus shelters rolled out last year to support the launch of McCain Ready Baked Jackets, the barkers contain crystals soaked in a scent that is emitted when a shopper presses the front of the unit.

“The scented barkers are a first for the frozen aisle,” said McCain’s head of brand Mark Hodge. “They will create added excitement around frozen, drive footfall and encourage more consumers to consider the category.”

The innovation was part of its “biggest-ever” marketing push, claimed McCain. A new tagline, Happy Days, had been introduced to mark a shift in emphasis following a rebrand earlier this year and would remind consumers of the “simple joys” of potato products, added Hodge.

The first burst - an eight-week push including TV, outdoor and press activity and focused on chips - launches on 2 September. Further bursts focusing on Baked Jackets and Smiles will keep McCain on screen for 24 weeks, and will be run in conjunction with the ongoing Film4 sponsorship promoting Wedges for sharing.

“The Happy Days campaign places the enjoyment of our products at the heart of all of our activity,” Hodge said. “It’s coming back to the kind of meals people want to eat - healthy, quick and varied.”