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Sensory Marketing: A Must-Have for Any Campaign

Sensory Marketing: A Must-Have for Any Campaign

4 Minute Read

  • Brands need to explicitly consider the consumers senses when creating any branded campaign.
  • The sense of smell is deeply tied to emotion and memory in humans – areas that many brands seek to appeal to.
  • A growing trend in sensory marketing is the use of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response – find out what this is below!

Appealing directly to someone’s senses can be more effective words, and beyond any skill of a copywriter. Sensory marketing appeals to one or all 5 senses (taste, touch, smell, hear and sight), sparking strong emotional responses and impacting consumer decision making. Given this, skilled marketers will consider what senses are involved at each step of the consumer journey – asking questions such as: What is my consumer smelling and hearing when they walk into my activation or live experience? – and – Are the colours of my campaign evoking a certain emotion?

Not only can sensory marketing enhance the consumer experience, but can be a key factor in whether or not a campaign resonates with a brand’s target. Through the examples below, MKTG reminds our readers how important sensory marketing is, highlighting a classic example with proven results and a new trend in sensory marketing that reinforces the impact of this type of advertising.

Appealing to the sense of smell will never fail

Our sense of smell is arguably one of the strongest senses – if used correctly, a campaign can generate major results. Brands have been appealing to the sense of smell for years and have used this as a point of engagement with consumers, such as when McCain installed a baked potato out-of-home campaign that enticed consumer to interact with its advertisements. Another classic example of brands marketing to appeal to the senses, specifically smell, is Dunkin Donuts in South Korea.

Case Study: Dunkin' Donuts installs “Flavour Radio” in city buses in Seoul.

Devices that mimicked air fresheners were installed on local buses in Seoul to lure in customers to their stores. These devices released the aroma of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee into the air as the sound of the company’s advertisement was simultaneously played on the buses' speakers (reinforcing the experience through yet another sense). When the radio advertisement ended, the bus conveniently stopped close to a Dunkin' Donuts store.

Seoul coffee shop visitors increased by 16% and Dunkin’ Donuts sales near city bus stops rose 29%. (CNBC)


ASMR is a growing trend in sound marketing

ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, which is the sensation some people experience as a result of certain sounds such as whispering, paper turning, folding towels and hair brushing. It is defined by tingling of the skin (commonly called ‘brain tingles’) that start at the crown of the head and work their way down the spine and lead to increased feelings of calmness and relaxation. There are social accounts and YouTube Creators dedicated to producing ASMR content which attract a large cult following. More than 500 ASMR videos are uploaded to YouTube daily and between 8 and 9 million YouTube views on this topic are recorded on any given day. (Data from Google Trends)

Google Trends showcases that ASMR is a growing area of interest with consumers as there is an increase in search from 2012-2017.



ASMR videos kicked off around 2010 and have become increasingly popular. Brands have taken note of this trend and have begun using this in their advertising – some explicitly labelling their content as ASMR, with others simply using ASMR techniques to evoke a particular feeling. Here are some recent ads that have used ASMR:

Example 1 – IKEA uses ASMR to launch new pieces of their collection

Example 2 – Dove Chocolate in China

While it’s too early to tell how enduring and pervasive this trend will be, the underlying insight—tapping into a person’s senses—can be a powerful tool brands can leverage to connect with an audience.

Marketing to the senses is a tactic that will never fade away as it allows brands to communicate with consumers on a level where words cannot reach!