Across the Senses

Ever wonder why Pringles are so addicting? Turns out, it’s not just the taste of the chip, but also the sound of the crunch, that gets you to the bottom of the can.

There's a reason why the fun don't stop...

There’s a reason why the fun don’t stop…

Yesterday, Ad Age published an article on the sensory marketing research of Charles Spence, an experimental psychologist whose clients include Unilever, McDonalds, and Proctor and Gamble. One of his findings demonstrates that responses to taste are affected by the sounds heard while munching.

“When we think about a product we always tend to think in terms of a single sense,” says Spence in a 2008 report. “Our brains, however, are constantly taking in information that impinges on each of our senses (including what we see, hear, touch, taste, and smell.)”

It is one of the biggest critiques given in university writing workshops—‘where are the rest of the senses in your story?’ Every character is at all times hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting and feeling. If the author (or company) doesn’t tell the reader (consumer) what the character is experiencing, then the reader fills in those gaps themselves. As an author, or as a company, that is control that you do not want to give up. Therefore, the more senses that are involved when interacting with your brand, the stronger and richer your brand story becomes.

In Spence’s report, he mentions “super-additivity,” or the idea that weaker signals can be combined by the brain to create a perception that is “far stronger than the sum of its parts.” Compare this to the efforts you make to connect to consumers–posts, tweets, pins, emails, packaging, videos, tunes—every small action contributes to the strength of your brand story.

According to Ad Age, Unilever and Courvoisier already hopped on the sensory marketing bandwagon. The next time you put on some Axe, pay attention to the sound and speed of the deodorant’s spray–feel “powerful and attractive?” All the work of careful engineering.

Have you ever noticed how your different senses affect a certain experience? Rethinking that Pringles addiction? Let me know below!


Grey Poupon: The Classy Condiment

High-class. Sophisticated. Exclusive. All words we use when describing the Oscars, Meryl Streep and Grey Poupon mustard.

Wait, what?

For years, Grey Poupon has marketed itself as “one of life’s finer pleasures.” In 1981, its famous “Pardon Me” advertisements garnered a lot of attention.

More clips can be found here and here. The movie “Wayne’s World” even parodied the commercial.

Omar Kattan of Brand Stories spoke about the way in which Grey Poupon has “masterfully carried their storyline into the digital age.” He praises their “Spread Good Taste” campaign, which included one of the first ever endeavors where a company actually turned away Facebook fans. To qualify to “like” their page, fans had to fill out an application to become a member of “The Society Of Good Taste” and have their profiles screened (points were taken away for bad grammar).

Recently, the Krafts Foods brand premiered the revival of their legendary “Pardon Me” ad at the Oscars as “The Lost Footage.” “It’s the classiest award show of the year, so it’s very in line with the brand,” said Sara Braun who heads Grey Poupon at Kraft Foods. The new commercial puts an action-packed spin on the old one, complete with a car chase and a champagne revolver.

Leaked footage of the video was released before the premiere for buzz and anticipation. The brand continues the orchestration of their exclusive brand story with a storm of tweets before, during, and after the awards show.

What do you think? Is Grey Poupon the classiest condiment to date?

What’s My Story?

I’m Leemor, a New York native currently finding my way through Baltimore as a Johns Hopkins University senior. I’ve always understood that everyone and everything has a story, but as I grew older that understanding morphed into fascination. If I didn’t know the stories, then I wrote them. Once I came to Johns Hopkins as a Writing Seminars major, I quickly became hooked on the marketing courses. During a lecture one Tuesday afternoon, my marketing professor, who was explaining branding, looked at the class and said, “Everything has a story,” and I thought, yes, exactly.

It was then that I realized that brand storytelling is essentially the marriage of my major and my minor. The questions of brand storytelling—“how do we resonate with customers?” “What’s our brand’s purpose?” “Are we connecting with our audience?”—are identical to the questions of writing –“ how do we resonate with readers?” “What’s our story’s purpose?” “Are we connecting with our readers?”

My research into brand storytelling has led me to create this blog. Here, I hope to offer a fresh, young perspective on the different ways that brands tell their stories. I would like for my posts to provide engaging material to make you (and myself) look twice, and, if I’m lucky, maybe even a third time.