Multisensory Advertising: Immersing The Senses for WOW Effect


Advertisers and marketers are faced with a challenge that gets more and more complicated – “buying” fractions of the consumers’ attention. Since visual information is literally surrounding us everywhere, it is next to impossible to cut through the “noise” using only imagery.

However, attention of the audience isn’t key – the purchasing decision is. As research shows, most of human decisions are based upon emotions, which “come from” the limbic system and are linked to senses like smell and taste, while visual information is processed in the cortex, responsible for thinking and actions.

So, using all five senses in marketing looks like the key to making a brand more appealing to the customer, who will perceive it positively and be more likely to buy its products.

Today, this task is made technologically possible through multisensory marketing, which is a way to connect to a consumer on a more personal, emotional level through engaging them by two and more senses.

Using smell in advertising

Neuromarketing studies found that smell triggers 75% of emotions and is directly connected to pleasure and memory. So, using the right smell has the huge potential for making an effect upon the consumers’ mood and emotional condition to can influence customers’ emotional state and mood to affect their purchasing decisions.

Here is an example of McCain Ready Baked Jackets campaign, which used the smell of ready baked potatoes in special bus shelters along with coupons to promote their product

Touch&temperature in ads

Another great multisensory campaign by Bayer Aspirin involves the temperature perception to advertise its product. They used heating devices in the bus shelters to make the mug of Aspirin Komplex feel warm and thus keep the commuters’ hands from the cold.

Supperadditivity effect

The effectiveness of multisensory marketing is proven by Martin Lindstrom, who found that the increase by 30% in brand impact took place when more than one senses were integrated into a brand message, and by 70%, when the involved senses were three. Moreover, several multisensory events taking place simultaneously in the same location are perceived as a single experience by the brain, the total effect of which is greater than the sum of its separate sensory elements, which is called superadditivity.

For instance, Abercrombie & Fitch, a popular clothing retailer in the USA, used sound, smell and lighting to influence their target audience – teenagers and the young. Each of their outlets featured loud music relevant for the target consumer, focused lighting on the important items, and smells of the most popular cologne in the US. This combination of sensory experiences has brought the company a huge sales growth at the time of the global financial crisis.

Mariott Hotels network used multisensory approach and its superadditivity effect to send the just married couples on a virtual honeymoon to various destination through Oculus Rift, virtual reality headset, headphones, fans and machines that would spray the customers with water to resemble the sound and feel of the seaside. Such experience immediately made the couples willing to go on an actual trip – and why not choose Mariott Hotels then?

Well, the key takeaway is – the technology now provides companies with the perfect chance to engage customers at a deeper emotional level, build trust and ensure positive associations with the brand through embracing multisensory marketing. Today, it’s an opportunity, but in the near future, it may be a necessity, so get going today.

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