Creative marketing campaigns use the 5 senses to up response & retention

Posted on Aug. 27, 2013 by @direct_cpc in Marketing solutions

Do you remember your first time at the beach – the smell of the ocean, the grittiness of sand on skin, water lapping at your legs, the taste of salt, the different blues of ocean and sky against golden sand? And the feelings that these sense memories awaken –happiness, love, laughter and excitement? During a talk at FFWD Adweek 2013, relationship marketing expert Mark Morin reviewed some direct marketing campaigns that engage multiple senses for increased response and retention rates.

READ ALSO: Marketing to the 5 senses.


When recently married couples received an embossed red envelope resembling a traditional Indian wedding invitation from Birla Sun Life Insurance, opening it started an audio insert playing the Vedic mantras recited at Indian weddings, reminding the groom of his duty to protect his bride – with life insurance, in this case. Hearing the Vedas that evoked his solemn promises as he simultaneously read the campaign’s copy was a strong prompt for new grooms. The mailing generated a response rate of 14% and a conversion rate of 8.6%1. And agency M&C Saatchi won a prize at the DMA International ECHO Awards 2012 with a creative campaign that used recipients’ ears, eyes, and hearts to sell Birla’s product.


Grey Canada’s Gold Lion winning B2B campaign for audio engineers GGRP highlighted sound, touch, interaction, sight, novelty, and nostalgia. Prospective clients received a flat cardboard package that, when opened, revealed a vinyl 45 and instructions on transforming the cardboard sleeve into a record player spun with a pencil. The potential clients themselves powered the recording showcasing GGRP’s innovative expertise, firmly establishing the company in the forefront of their minds. Traffic to GGRP’s site grew from 50 visits/week to over 70,0002, helped by features on over 500 blogs, including Wired and Gizmodo.


High-end cookbook publisher Gestenberg needed to stand out from the crowd with bookstore purchasers. It mailed them a beautifully boxed cookbook whose pages were fresh pasta sheets embossed with the recipe for a simple, delicious lasagna for the “reader” to make. Through taste, sight, smell, and touch, this visual and gastronomic treat tapped into the memory of home-cooked meals with loved ones and the targets’ aspirations to a lifestyle with time for the sensory pleasures. This tasty direct marketing piece was designed to create a feast of sales for the client – and it won several industry awards for the KOREFE agency.


Rapp Collins Bogota knows how to mix touch and sight to create “sticky” messages. A B2B mailer to prospective clients literally stuck to the recipients fingers upon opening, asking “Want customers to stick with your brand?”


Another clever Rapp campaign for Derma Solutions’ fat-reducing patch produced a mail piece printed with a woman’s torso wearing the patch. Opening it required tearing away a perforated love handle –a dramatic visual example of the before and after results of the weight loss product. Each of these relatively inexpensive mail pieces delivered a strong tactile and visual experience for the recipient, one that emotionally “proved” that the product worked.


Australia’s Jeans for Gene Day fundraiser for childhood genetic illnesses saw a 40% jump3 in media coverage in 2011 due to a letter to key media leaders. Designed by the Wunderman agency, an envelope wrapped in a large denim bow opened to reveal a scrap of denim embroidered with the charity’s ask for a donation of air, page, and screen space. A serious appeal was presented in a way that created a tactile and visual hook for the attention of a tough-to-reach audience.


A budget-smart campaign by Heye & Partner for Fiskars scissors upped orders almost 20% in a single month4 with cutting-edge mail using the sense of touch and visual novelty. A hundred hardware store purchasing managers received a letter where any non-text space was literally cut out – the remaining paper created the message. The mailing included a pair of Fiskars scissors to cut out a coupon to be returned in a bright orange envelope, whose big, warm splash of colour contrasted with the letter’s unrelieved white. This tactile ad engaged the brain to enjoy working for its information. Purchasing managers experienced the quality of the product by using it for its intended purpose. According to Heye creative director Thomas Winklbauer, 53% of the recipients responded5 to the mailing.


A recent development broadens the visual reach of direct mail. New technology allowed 1Platinum Concierge, a UK-based bespoke lifestyle management company for affluent individuals and busy professionals, to reach carefully selected potential clients through an elegant mail piece with a built-in audio-video player. The unique mailer visually demonstrated the high-end convenience and luxury that 1Platinum Concierge offers its clients.


As the fragrance industry knows, the sense of smell evokes memory and pleasure. Strategies’ Mark Morin designed a marketing campaign for Giorgio Armani’s Attitude with an innovative fragrance delivery system –a wafer-thin atomizer on card stock that delivers 4 to 6 sprays of the actual scent rather than the traditional fragrance strip’s blend of ink, paper, and fragrance. Beyond the olfactory info, the recipients’ eyes enjoyed a sophisticated, seductive image while their hands touched glossy card-stock and a laminated “gift card” (actually a coupon). Further tactile actions involved spraying and rubbing the cologne onto the pulse points. The faint pssst of the atomizer signaled the ears. Finally, the mailers’ recipients could sniff the applied fragrance through the day to discover how it “wore.” The campaign’s full sensory experience helped to make it memorable and drive results.

Direct marketing that brings the five senses into play awakens the potential customer’s interest and curiosity which, as several of these sensory campaigns have proved, ups response, retention, and sales – the goal of any marketing professional.

1International Echo Awards 2012
2The Inspiration Room, August 2012
3International Echo Awards 2012
4, 5Deliver Magazine, March 2012


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