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Written by Jennifer Dublino, on March 20th, 2013
JWT, a 150-year-old marketing communications firm with 200 offices in 90 countries, has turned its attention to sensory marketing. Although it may take some time for the idea to trickle down, you can expect some of its clients like Bayer, Bloomberg, Brand USA, Mondelez, Diageo, Ford, HSBC, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg’s, Kimberly-Clark, Kraft, Macy’s, Nestlé, Nokia, Rolex, Royal Caribbean, Schick, Shell, Unilever, Vonage and Vodafone to begin using sensory marketing techniques.
Spearheading the new initiative as a strategic partner is experimental psychologist Professor Charles Spence who runs the Crossmodal Research Laboratory at the University of Oxford. Toby Hoare, CEO of JWT Europe called sensory marketing “something different and increasingly relevant.”
Professor Spence will be working with JWT to evaluate and develop a multitude of sensory marketing implementations, including tactile packaging design, color choice, scent and sound/music.
Spence has previously consulted for Unilever, Toyota, Starbucks, VF Group, and Nestlé, on multi-sensory design, branding, and communication. Some of Spence’s previous work has focused on designing foods to optimally stimulate the senses and the effect of indoor environment on people’s mood, performance and well-being.
He has also investigated cross-modal ideas, where sensory input is associated with an entirely different sense. For example, one of his lectures asked “Are lemons fast or slow? Is carbonated water round or angular?” Universally, people tend to answer that lemons are fast and carbonated water is angular, as they associate the taste with other sensations (speed or shape).
This is important in marketing communications because these associations are ingrained in our brains, and any marketing that goes against that will not be successful. Consider the logo of 7-Up soda, which is both lemon/lime flavored (fast) and carbonated (angular). The 7 is very sharp and the entire logo is slanted as if it has speed.
Professor Spence’s alliance with JWT is sure to bring an upswell of interest in sensory marketing not only from JWT’s client brands, but throughout the market.