Stimulating appetites using the senses of sound and sight

We eat with our eyes first and sometimes we can taste with only your mind.

The original article from Getty Image here, shows how food itself is sensory and social. Immersive imagery conjures the same sensations we feel as we experience a meal firsthand.

In the videos below, note your reaction to each scene, not only is your mind stimulating your sense of taste via your sense of sight, but it is working together with your sense of touch showing the rich textures of the food and how they might feel in your mouth. My mouth watered, hope yours does too. I find it quite amazing that our individual senses can be stimulated using the other senses. You can “feel” what things are like without experiencing them.


Below, coffee brand Carte Noire taps the ambitious home chef (along with the avid eater) with a “try this at home” ad that takes viewers through the delicious, delicate process of making cream puffs. This piece also uses extreme close-ups, time-lapse, and unexpected points-of-view to showcase the science of baking. But sound is the biggest star, fooling our senses into thinking we can touch and taste the airy cream puffs since we hear the crack of the egg and the sizzle of the butter. Read more here.

ROSE by Carte Noire from ))) datafone on Vimeo.

Sensory Gardens

Gardnening is truly a multi-sensory experience.

mutli-sensory garden for a full life expereince Walking around the Desert Botanical Gardens I came across their Sensory Garden. The sign at the entry let me know that I was now entering a garden where you should stop and smell, touch and experience all the plants. Up until then I was an observer from a safe distance (many of the plants are cacti and although beautiful to look at, pretty painful if experienced close-up). But in this area, it is encouraged to fully engage with the plants and almost guaranteed that you will discover something new.

I was fortunate to grow up surrounded by acres of beautiful gardens and spent my mornings picking fragrant flowers and tending to my very own vegetable garden. I have very specific memories of my childhood and they revolve around how the gardens smelled, tasted and felt.

One of the reasons why I started this blog was to help people open their eyes to the beauty and wonder that surround us every day. I believe that my childhood experiences helped me hone my ability to see the beauty of the everyday, and one way to instill this in your children is to help them experience life through all their senses and get them to put down their ipads. Creating a sensory ‘scratch and sniff” garden would be a great way to get their other senses invloved and create wonder and discovery in their lives.

Here is a great list of  plants to create your very own ‘Scratch n sniff’ garden:

Furry, soft and silky plants

Bumpy, tickly, and prickly plants

Smooth, spongy and playful plants

Scented herbs and edible plants

More suggestions here. How To Create ‘Scratch N Sniff’ Sensory Gardens For Kids

Fireworks: A Full Sensory Experience

We all have memories tied to the 4th of July, and most of those memories include fireworks of some kind. In the early eighties, we moved to the United States and so began my happy memories of colorful and magical skies, loud bursts you can feel in your chest and the smell of black powder hanging in the night air.

Why do we love fireworks?

It thrills ALL the senses.

It is a curious anomaly that the pops and bangs of fireworks, so reminiscent of gunfire and turmoil, are part of the pull of the response to a fireworks display.  Although we wince, cringe, cry out at the detonations, they are essential to the experience, adding an edge of adrenalin to the spectacle.

Fireworks are a controlled danger.

As for the psychologists, they say that watching fireworks, a potentially risky behavior, releases the chemical dopamine in the brain. That’s the same pesky neurotransmitter that takes over and makes us go loopy when we fall in love. Its a feel good phenomena, and also links to our happy childhood memory of similar sensations. Fireworks: A Fiery Fascination.

Of course my dogs would say that their memories of fireworks can be summed up into two words; pure terror. I am sure if I didn’t know what was going on either, it would be a shock to all my senses.

How do Fireworks Work?

Fireworks: A Full Sensory Experience -How Fireworks Work

How Fireworks Work

The Future of Fireworks

Although a fireworks experience is already a multi-sensory experience, the sense of smell and taste are not as stimulated as those of sight, sound and touch. The world’s first multi-sensory fireworks display was in London in 2013, crowds were treated to clouds of apple, cherry and strawberry mist, peach snow, plus thousands of big bubbles filled with Seville orange-flavoured smoke and 40,000 grams of edible banana confetti.
Get a behind the scenes look at how Bombas & Parr created this magical event, here.

One of the lovely things about Fourth of July fireworks is that they take us back in time, to the days that communities would get together in town squares and spend the day and night socializing and watching the sparkling event. So the future could really be, keeping it just like it was.

Me, I am excited to go down to my local store and pick up a few boxes of sparklers and share them with my family tomorrow. As each rod bursts into mesmerizing, dripping sparkles, I will be transported away from the ordinary and come back just in time to watch the big show.

To keep the memories of this special night going all month long, click here to get your free July sparkler desktop calendar.

yellow sparkler

I Prefer the Smell of Blue to Pink

What?!? The scent of blue and pink, did I read that right? Yes, when faced with a scent I prefer cooler and fresher scents to sickly sweet confectionary or fruity ones. Does this mean that I actually smell the color blue, no, but I associate it with oceans and breezes and cool crisp and clean scents.

I am sure if you had to name a scent that you associate with the color blue or green or red it would be pretty simple. Shout out the first scent that pops into your mind.

These are sense associations.

These associations can be universal or cultural or regional. However, we as humans cross reference senses all the time even when we are not aware of it.

scent of blue sensory associations

So what does this mean, and what does it have to do with you and business brand?

Understanding the subconscious associations humans make, can help you create a more memorable brand.

By utilizing the neurological phenomenon of synesthesia, you can stimulate one sense with another and trigger those associations with multiple senses.Synesthesia happens with the stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway which then leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. The more senses that you can stimulate in one experience the more memorable that experiences can be.

So instead of sending out scented, fur covered, music-playing brochures, you can leverage sensory design to stimulate the senses with associations and cross references.

Smell is the sense that is most closely associated to memory,  it is the most primal of all the senses and therefore the most powerful.

Companies leverage scent, whether you are aware of it or not, to connect with customers, and chances are you have experienced at least one of these: 10 Weird Sensory Marketing Tricks Companies Use On Us

Singapore Airlines has used its scent called Stefan Florida Waters, on its hot towels and on its flight attendants. This way the plane smells fresh when you board, and the scent is spread every time an attendant walks past. According to the airline this enhances the travelers experience of a relaxed flight. After your holiday you will want to book with them again.

I would love to fly with Singapore Airlines, sounds like their fresh airy scent is just what I enjoy. If they pay attention to details like scent, I imagine that the full experience would be way above any other airline.

So I really prefer the scent of blue, what about you?