Sensing Results


Source: Michele Catania

We buy items that appeal to us, which means there is something about the way they look, feel, smell, taste and/or sound that make them irresistible. As more people consider the value of the items they buy and experiences they consume, basic methods of sensory attraction – like soft music and flattering light –no longer suffice when it comes to creating competitive edge.

In the Age of Now many brands have moved beyond implementing pleasant atmospherics and have begun developing immersive sensory experiences for good reason – sensory appeal increases engagement, percentage of footfall in stores and overall sales. When something piques our sense of curiosity and creates a pleasant atmosphere around us, we are more open to advertising messages and are more likely to remember them.

Here are some examples of brands that have successfully integrated Sensuality into their marketing with positive results:

  • When Samsung sprayed their signature honeydew melon scent in showrooms worldwide, customers spent an average of 20 – 30 percent more time in store and had better rates of brand recall.
  • Glassware sales at IKEA increased 30 percent over two weeks when shoppers were able to take products out of boxes in an area that was scented with vanilla candles.
  • In South Korea, commuter buses were scented with the light aroma of coffee each time a Dunkin’ Donuts ad was played on the radio. As a result, in-store footfall increased by 16 percent and sales increased by 29 percent.
  • 70 percent of men said they would definitely purchase Schick’s spearmint and rosemary Xtreme3 Refresh, therefore breaking early assumptions that ‘unmanly’ scented products would prove unpopular.

Appealing to the senses is not exclusive to retail, outdoor or interactive experiences. A study from the University of Michigan (2009) found that food advertising that only focused on promoting ‘taste’ were less effective than advertising that suggested appeal to all the senses. In the experiment, two different taglines were viewed for chewing gum. One tagline read “stimulate your senses” and the other promoted “long-lasting flavor”. The gum that advertised a complete sensory experience rated higher after taste tests. The experiment was repeated for potato chips and popcorn.

Brands that presume that Sensuality is a characteristic that should only be applied in the physical stages of advertising shortchange themselves of the opportunity to create more holistic brands. The sight, sound, taste, scent and touch of a brand is as much about perception as it is about the product itself. Copywriters take heed.