by Jonathan Marshall
We have certain expectations of products and of brands, both natural and conditioned. By breaking traditional aesthetic and behavioral boundaries challenger brands are blending the senses, creating synesthesia-type experiences to stand out and define their difference.
This is a pretty clever way to make consumers temporarily stop and think about the advertisement, whether they are shocked, intrigued or even scared. It’s about taking our expectations of brands for a ride, and showing us that they don’t want to be predictable. For some San Diego Marketing Companies that have been around longer, that might not be the safest approach, they most likely need consistency. But, for the new and undiscovered- take a chance and put some pressure on the typical consumer experience and thought process. Sophie Maxwell of Pearlfisher discusses this unique concept and advertising strategy in her blog below.
There is a moment in the Karl Lagerfeld documentary Confidential where its maker answers a “call of nature” in the House of Chanel to find the following placarded mantra: “Si tu pisses partout t’es pas Chanel du tout” (pissing everywhere isn’t very Chanel). Quite right too I think, as this is evidence of three good things: the fashion industry for once taking itself less seriously, a rare return from said overt glitzy glamor to the famously blunt form and natural style of the house’s original founder, and the fitting extension of this original trademark elegance to their lavatorial standards.
I’m referencing it here not just because it’s a funny little clip, but because it made me think about my main point this week: whether it registers or not, we expect certain behavior from certain brands. We form preconceptions and then levels of expectation (as above) through our relationship to and engagement with their products. We like them to meet our standards and ideals. And this is as it should be, especially for brands that we have come to know and trust. However this shouldn’t stop new blood from challenging the status quo, both in reinterpreting our expectations and experiences and in capturing our imaginations.
While true synesthesia is involuntary–like when people describe being “hurt by” shouts–the idea or theory of one form of sensory stimulation blending with, or suggesting, another offers exciting new creative territories. Here are some interesting examples of new approaches not all following the same principles, but all nonetheless challenging what we know and how we know it. We’re anticipating (and hoping for) more…
Scent by Sight:
Boudicca, the London-based design duo is a favorite. By launching a paint as their first perfume they stayed true to their inspiration–their namesake queen Boudicca–who with her warriors marked themselves with wode, a blue dye, before battle. The blue spray may disappear minutes after spraying (leaving a powerful scent that includes notes of juniper berry, cardamon, nutmeg and amber) but its lasting effect may be to change what we expect from a perfume by bringing sight, not just scent, into the equation. The pack structure is a hardy: a beautiful paint can, rather than the slender dispensers typically used by fragrance houses.
Tasting by Whiffing:
Scent is being used in two revolutionary and quite vice aversive ways. Le Whif is a chocolate inhaler created by Harvard professor David Edwards. Le Whif comes in four flavors and is, he explained in an interview with UK publication The Daily Telegraph, inspired by the opinion “that eating was tending toward breathing, so, with a mix of culinary art and aerosol science, we’ve helped move eating habits to their logical conclusion. We call it whiffing.” As it contains zero calories the diet market can’t be far from his thoughts.
“Breathe responsibly” is the disclaimer ingenious duo Bompas and Parr greet their visitors with upon entering Alcoholic Architecture, their pop-up bar in London’s Soho. Here, they revolutionize the intake of alcohol by letting you inhale rather than drink, specifically a nice gin and tonic. Forty minutes of exposure apparently equals consumption of one cocktail.
And that wraps up today’s blog, so in the spirit of synesthesia- smell you later.