Sensory advertising: a mobile strategy that makes sense


We live in a time where our phones are constantly in our hands, as we touch, move and feel them…shouldn’t we be looking beyond the sense of sight to touch people with our marketing messages?

Since its inception, advertising has engaged mainly two senses – sight and sound – and this, for the most part, hasn’t changed as we’ve moved into a mobile era.

However, this approach has, for the first time, started to feel out dated, as our phones rely hugely on our other senses.

We touch our touch-screen phones, we move them around and feel them buzz in our pockets (even sometimes when they haven’t, as many of us have experienced with something now called Phantom Vibration Syndrome).

The average person checks their phones 221 times a day (that’s over 80,000 times a year). Think for a moment, of the 80,000+ times you checked your phone in the last year, how many brand messages can you actually remember? (If you’re anything like me, it’s likely to be zero).

Beyond sight and sound

In a time where our phones are constantly in our hands, as we touch, move and feel them…shouldn’t we be looking beyond the sense of sight to touch people with our marketing messages?

Enter the realm of sensory advertising.

What is sensory advertising?

Marketers have been successfully engaging human senses to deliver memorable and persuasive brand messages for decades.

Sight is the most stimulated sense in marketing for quite simple reasons – the majority of us know McDonald’s by its yellow and red logo.

Sound is the next most utilised of the human senses by marketers, because sounds can be a powerful way to inspire lasting memories that tug at people’s heartstrings, such as a catchy tune, jingle or song associated with a brand.

Who can’t remember ‘Mmmm Danone’? and who doesn’t immediately associate the National Geographic Channel’s Explorer theme song with education, exploration and the wild?

When sound is combined with sight, we have a powerful storytelling method – and the prominence of TV, and more recently, video advertising, has proven this.

Mobile phones now allow for the next generation of sensory advertising experiences.

Sensory advertising and the future of mobile

Our smartphones now contain sensory technology as standard; our fingers touch the screens, the accelerometer responds as we move our phones, and intuitively, we look at our phones when we feel our phone vibrating.

The sensory technology is there, it is just that marketers have yet to fully utilise it.

The future is happening now

Although initially cautious to embrace mobile, savvy marketers are now embracing these new sensory technologies in innovative campaigns that are achieving real cut through.

One example is BritVic J2O’s ‘There is Joy in the Blend’ campaign, where Britvic partnered with Sensory Advertising firm Adludio to creative a mobile campaign that engaged multiple human senses: Feel (through haptic technologies), touch, sight and sound.

Users were invited to interact with the ad by touching and “switch on” a blender to “blend” the flavours of J2O. The activity ‘turns on’ the blender and the phone begins to vibrate, an unexpected, unique and memorable brand experience.


Sensory Advertising: A Strategy that makes Sense

Our smartphones open a world of possibility for marketers to engage human senses in a way never before possible. By utilising these human senses in mobile campaigns, marketers can stand out and be remembered.

Isn’t this a mobile marketing strategy that makes sense?

About Author

Howard Kingston

Co-founder of Adludio

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