Multi-sensory marketing takes CPGs by your senses

Consumer packaged goods marketing often experiments with the most innovative techniques and exposes brands to a breadth of campaigns touching multiple channels because they are attempting to reach a wide audience. As a result, CPGs have generated tons of data on the types of campaigns that work and don’t work. One of our favorite emerging trends is multi-sensory advertisements.
Made popular by Oxford University’s Dr. Charles Spence, multi-sensory marketing suggests that customers will be swayed to taste, feel, smell, or see CPGs a certain way by pairing sensory triggers that support the emotion a product is trying to inspire. During a coffee symposium, Spence shows how the mind can be misled to believe coffee tastes better (or worse) by changing its packaging, presentation in a coffee shop, adding smells, or different colors. Don’t believe us? Just watch: https://youtu.be/vVKabsudi1I

Amazing stuff, right? Multi-sensory advertising is especially popular with millennial marketing experts because these campaigns break through the clutter and create a stronger emotional bond with the brand than traditional print or television ads. This is a “must-do” when marketing to millennials because the single most important factor in attracting this audience is creating a real, emotional connection with your brand.

Below, we share some of our favorite multi-sensory CPG campaigns and why they are so successful. We’re excited to help you create your next (or first) multi-sensory campaign, so click here to discover how we have worked with brands like yours in the past or set up a one-on-one consultation today at your local Orlando marketing agency. 

CPG MARKETING MEETS TASTE:

What do Kit Kat bars and Pringles have in common? Aside from being delicious – if somewhat indulgent – snacks, both CPG brands have discovered that consumers associate freshness with the sound of a crisp crunch. In a study sponsored by Dr. Spence, Pringles played the sound of different chips crunching to their consumers. Based on how fresh or stale the chips sounded influenced the consumers’ opinion of how the chips would taste. Leveraging that information, Pringles has never shied away from showing sound bites of happy customers munching in their television spots, and routinely reinforce this messaging with their “once you pop, you can’t stop” tag line. Everything from the sound of opening a Pringles tube, to the chips rattling inside the canister affirms the crisp freshness of the chips. Similarly, Kit Kat has built hundreds of campaigns around the crunch and snap of sharing and eating a Kit Kat bar. Their ads show customers being transported outside their mundane day-to-day lives as the crunch takes over. In other ads, the entire commercial leverages the various signature sounds of breaking into or biting a Kit Kat bar. The crunch, in this instance, is a pleasurable sensory experience customers have come to expect and crave. It was just a matter of discovering which this sensory experience delighted customers.

CONSUMER PACKAGED GOODS THAT SMELL … WELL … GOOD:

Sure, scratch and sniff coffee bags and air freshener packaging seems like an obvious use of the sense of smell to make a sale, but one of our favorite examples of multi-sensory marketing doesn’t rely on smell to make the sale … It changes the smell of the product itself. In blind tests, Axe Body Spray discovered that it’s masculine cologne had great potential, but found that consumers thought the spray was less masculine if they heard the traditional swoosh of a perfume atomizer before smelling the product. To counter balance this unintentional multi-sensory fail, Axe Body Spray changed their packaging so the bottle’s nozzle created a more aggressive, “manly” sound when using the product. That simple commercial innovation boosted customers perception of the smell and appreciation for the product. Talk about taking your packaging seriously. Using focus groups or setting up user testing can help reveal insights like this that can make or break how your CPG is perceived. 

SEEING IS BELIEVING FOR MILLENNIAL MARKETING:

Packaging and presentation is one of the most powerful tools when crafting a multi-sensory marketing campaign targeted at the millennial audience. Because millennials are used to consuming information via photos and rely on visual cues as they move from device to device, colors and packaging can have a profound subliminal effect on how they perceive CPGs in the real world. Color alone is enough to trigger a certain sentiment or influence taste. Just ask Coca-Cola. As part of their holiday collection, Coke released a limited edition white can featuring polar bears frolicking in the snow. Although they had not changed the product itself, hundreds of customers called in complaining that the drink formula had changed and that the product did not taste as good. Simply switching back to the traditional red can solved the sales issue. If you are marketing to a millennial audience, consider what they are looking at every day and how you could use those natural triggers to align your product with a certain feeling or effect.

THE RIGHT TOUCH FOR CPGs:

The challenge with CPGs is that they are usually packed in such a way that customers don’t have the opportunity to feel, touch, or play with the product until after they have purchased it. Two companies have solved this problem in unique ways that we love. Electronic retailer Apple has created entire stores dedicated to touching and feeling their products. In their store kiosks, customers can play with, try on, weigh, and admire each and every product Apple sells. This high-sensory experience affirms Apple’s commitment to quality and design and sets them apart from other electronic manufacturers. On the other end of the spectrum, organic soap company LUSH, has taken a similar approach by setting up “mini spas” in several of their key stores across the United States. Customers can come in and enjoy quick in-store treatments using their hand lotion, soap and scrubs right to discover the benefits of these luxurious, eco-friendly products. Touch is especially important for CPGs trying to establish themselves based on value rather than price and can be a powerful reminder of quality.

HEAR THE DIFFERENCE WITH MULTI-SENSORY MARKETING:

No one does multi-sensory marketing better than Bose headphones and speakers. In almost any major electronic store or boutique where Bose is sold, customers will find a station outfitted with surround sound speakers or noise canceling headphone. Customers are invited to hear the sound of a Porsche revving, a majestic waterfall rushing, or immerse themselves in an action-packed movie. In each of these examples, Bose pairs their listening booth with high-adrenaline experiences rather than simply letting the customer flip on the news or turn to their Smartphone for musical inspiration. choice Their of sounds – all of which may seem otherworldly to the average consumer – affirms that Bose itself is in a class of its own in line with luxury brands such as Porsche or some of the greatest wonders that the world (or Hollywood) can deliver.

If those examples don’t inspire you to try something new, nothing will. Sometimes, the unconventional answer is the right one. And sure, you’ve heard us share our excitement about digital marketing before, but these CPGs have learned to balance the digital wave with innovative, multi-sensory techniques. These marketing leaders prove that there isn’t a one size fits all model when appealing to customers. Learn about our marketing approach here.

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