BLOG: Making the most of your sensory assets

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October 03, 2017

by Luisa Robertson


On a recent trip to New York, I spotted this pack on shelf – one of the many interesting products we found during our various visits to different food and drink stores (some people get excited by the Empire State Building and Statue of Liberty, we were equally enthralled by Westside Market and Whole Foods!)

So, it’s not only the fact that I enjoy a Pretzel based snack that caused this to grab my attention, it was the way that the packaging was used to really showcase the product experience. Not only via the prominent and large picture! The language used really brings to life the taste and texture - showcasing what is different / special about the Unique Spilt-Open Pretzel. Bold claims such as ‘Nicely Burnt’ and ‘Bubbles bursting with tantalizing flavor’ indicate a brand that know what their product is all about, and are using this effectively to set clear expectations upfront and tempt people at fixture with vivid portrayal of the product experience.

This reminded me of a couple of further examples from the UK – in which brands have capitalized on their sensory assets through advertising. Guinness is a brand that has always done this well (and very artistically), creating iconic ads that are immediately recognizable as Guinness, but I was struck by the following two examples I caught on a rare occasion watching TV ‘live’ so I couldn’t forward through the ads!

The first is Sensations by Castello (https://www.mynewsdesk.com/uk/arla-foods/videos/castello-sensations-29774 ), designed in their own words to “to bring to life the sensations that consumers experience when eating its range of speciality cheeses”.

I love the way they use bold imagery to bring to life the distinct characters of the different cheeses and translate the sensory experience through visual references. I can’t watch this ad without my mouth watering! I think they do a pretty good job too at differentiating through their packaging, but there would definitely be an opportunity to draw on these sensory assets through Point of Sale material to both maximize return on their advertising (providing an instinctive link between the ad and the at fixture decision) as well as tempting purchase.

Another example from this summer is Sensations crisps (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BysICfXHdew ). The ingredients and flavors are again linked with powerful imagery to bring them to life, for example lime with a lady dancing in a green skirt to convey vibrancy and energy. Both ads, in fact, effectively use color to trigger a more emotional response – a clever way to set expectations of the product experience at a less conscious level.

Is it a coincidence that these products are also linked by the name ‘Sensations’? Perhaps, but maybe this name actually reflects the appreciation given by both organizations to the role of the senses which is then permeating through, very effectively, to their marketing campaigns.

We often talk with our clients about the importance of the sensory assets of product and packaging communicating the same message as the brand or positioning (sensory experience engenders emotional and functional meaning at a deep level, and when this meaning is aligned with brand expectations the consumer experience will be stronger). In my opinion, these are three powerful examples of the reverse - where brand owners have effectively leveraged their sensory assets and the meaning they communicate to strengthen their brand.

Luisa Robertson is Director of Future Focus at MMR.