Spirits brands plan multi-sensory feasts for next-generation experiential marketing

With their heads equipped with neuroscience marketing, Bombay Sapphire sensor auction participants were invited to view a sculpture inspired by the brand’s gin, while a technician beside them measures their unconscious emotional response. The event, held last month in New York City, aimed to highlight the drink’s role as a canvas for cocktail creativity while rewarding the person with the strongest reaction to seeing the piece.

In recent months, liquor brands like Johnnie Walker and Gray Goose have launched similar multi-sensory experiences, a trend that suggests they are creating the next generation of experiential marketing. While digital should still be a central part of beverage strategies, multi-sensory efforts allow brands to explore innovation in ways specific to their products, whether in unique sensory environments, scientific experiments, or fascinating stories. Furthermore, effective experiential marketing can have a leverage effect, leading to stronger digital progress.

By creating moments suitable for Instagram or TikTok, brands can capture engagement and conversation beyond face-to-face participants, said Mike Proulx, Forrester’s vice president and director of research.

“The people who participate in these experiential activations become proxies, almost [like] standard influencers,” said Proulx.

The pent-up demand for personal opportunities contributed to the timing of these efforts, according to Jaime Keller, North American brand director for Bombay Sapphire. But as marketing executives continue to prioritize innovation — as evidenced by Forrester’s July CMO Pulse survey — the value of multi-sensory experiences can be enduring and malleable for channels that drive marketing well into the future.


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Innovate around a product

Multi-sensory experiences allow brands to create environments consistent with their products, providing the opportunity for more descriptive messages to reach consumers. For example, creativity is the main theme of Bombay Sapphire gin, which the brand emphasized in its sensory auction through art that reflects the drink’s qualities as well as the consumer’s emotional response to seeing the piece.

“It’s all about how we’re going to evoke your senses – sight, sound, touch, taste, touch. And it’s one thing to have an ad that can communicate that, but another thing is when you bring it to life.” can bring it, said Keller of Bombay Sapphire.

Ancient mythologies change

One obstacle that brands of spirits must face is the modernization of traditions surrounding their drinks. Many types of alcoholic beverages are intertwined with occasions and histories that date back more than a hundred years, to the point that unwritten rules still influence the perception of how best to drink a beverage or what the consumer should be, said Christian Lachel. , Creation director for BRC Imagination Arts, which co-developed Johnnie Walker’s Princes Street attraction.