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!