Current Issue Summary
March 2021 (Vol. 61, Issue 1)
Multimodal Perceptual Processing of Cues in Food Ads: Do You Smell What You See?
Ambient marketing can be expensive and unreliable when it comes to the use of ambient scents in food advertising. That’s because information from sensory food advertising is processed in different ways and at different levels of human cognition, according to Yamen Koubaa (Ecole de Management de Normandie, France) and Amira Eleuch, an independent marketing consultant. They conducted a series of lab experiments in France, exposing consumers to visual inputs of sugar-free cookies, that in theory, would trigger olfactory imagery without the use of ambient aromas. (So strong is this work that the JAR editors awarded it the “Douglas C. West Advertising Creative Article 2021.”)
The study, in fact, demonstrated that effective use of language and imagery often have a more effective impact on consumer perceptions of food products than the use of actual scents. Koubaa and Eleuch experimented with the use of the word “vanilla,” such as using the imagery of a vanilla flower and a vanilla-flavored cookie. They found that “by looking at the vanilla flower and the image of the cookie, participants could recall the associations of vanilla flower-vanilla odor and of vanilla odor-sweet cookie.”
Among the implications:
- Visual inputs can influence food perception, even when they are olfactory neutral, but olfactory congruent inputs are stronger because the elaborate processing of these inputs makes the imagery more concrete.
- Visual referents are important in the elaboration process of olfactory imagery and should be present on packaging or in advertising, because this can lead consumers to a stronger desire to eat.
- Compared with ambient olfactory advertising, the reliance on images is much easier to implement for almost-equivalent effects and would help the marketing of sugar-free food.
- Those visual referents can be used in fast-food chains, school cafeterias and other food-sales outlets to make the eating of sugar-free food more pleasurable and, as a result, encourage its consumption.
Read the full article here.