Summoning All Senses

Advertising, ATEC 2321

As people crave to satisfy their senses, advertising also thrives to approach consumers from multiple sides and provoke their reaction in various aspects. Multisensory experiential advertising has done very well in capturing people’s attention and participation and introducing new and creative ways to interact with the audience. TV commercials, though not allowing a full multisensory experience, also take advantage of this technique to promote the brand using different modes: text, image, motion and sound.

In fact, multisensory appeal is considered one of the most important practices in television advertisement, according to Neil Kokemuller, writer and content media website developer. The combination of graphics and sound creates an effect that’s larger than the sum of both parts, as they stimulate the audience simultaneously and awake as many of their senses as possible. In other words, multisensory ads will overwhelm viewers (in a positive way) and pull them into another world that’s full of assets they can see, hear, feel, smell, and taste.

Dr. Ryan S. Elder and Dr. Aradhna Krishna from the University of Michigan conducted a research on The Cognitive Effects of Multi-Sensory Advertising on Taste Perception, focusing on food commercial. Their studies suggest that multiple-sense ads lead to significantly higher taste perceptions than single-sense ones, therefore, increase brand awareness, purchase intentions, and brand attitudes. The Marketing Science Institute also explains how waking up multiple senses at the same time plays a big role in engaging viewers, as the complex human body and mind can memorize and recall thousands of different scents, smells, tastes, and the like.

Multisensory advertising is even more important in our era of multi-tasking, when we usually listen to music while working, or watching movies during our meals. We are constantly looking for activities that engage all our senses in order to maximize our experience and satisfaction. Life is getting faster and more exhilarating than ever, as shown in commercials made by global payment business Barclaycard:

My first reaction after watching these was, “I WANT ONE!!!!!!!!!!!”. By ONE I mean one ride, not necessarily a Barclaycard. Still, the larger-than-life-but-somehow-might-be-doable experience shown in the ads, the first-person camera angle, plus the joyful music and realistic sound effects here and there, encourage viewers to imagine themselves experiencing the rides.

Lastly, one way to “cheat” multisensory effects into TV commercials is to record people’s reaction to real-life experiential advertising. Not only do these videos express brands’ creativity, gain lots of attention from the crowd, but they also show brands’ dedication to surprise and please customers, since some of these campaigns require expensive, high-tech features.