Experiential Marketing: Top Sensory Campaigns

We’re always on the lookout for inspiration in our industry. And this post is all about inspiration directly related to sensory experiential marketing campaigns (something that continues to fascinate us). Think back to some of your best memories. Those summer family holidays, distinct sounds and smells that can whisk you back to a certain state of being and instantly transport you back to a particular mindset or conjure up emotions. Think of the feeling you get when listening to that playlist from back in college or flipping through a photo album from years ago. All of these are ways of appealing to our senses. But let’s put on our business hats and see how that same approach can be applied in the marketing space.


By appealing to the senses we’re able to not only capture and retain attention, but we’re also given the opportunity as a brand to really make the most of that attention when we have it. After all, we want people to remember. It’s also a great way to allow people to try before they buy. But we’ve got to be inventive. Simply telling people to do something won’t make it a memorable experience. It’s so much bigger than that. By amplifying the five senses through an activation, a brand can make a lasting impression. It’s one of the reasons it’s such an effective medium.

Think about it, what did you do the last time you had an epic experience? Post about it on your social channel? Took some pics? Yep. You shared it. And that’s why an incredibly effective sensory-based experiential marketing campaign can be so powerful; it makes people want to share their experience and talk about it. We’ve seen these experiential campaigns start to appear everywhere – at music festivals like Coachella, at business conferences and at events that keep evolving, like South by South West. They’re even showing up on the streets, at the local park, at conferences and at well-established museums.


Here they are. The 5 senses. We all know them and yet we seldom take the time to unpack their efficacy in marketing:

• Sight
• Smell
• Sound
• Taste
• Touch

You will notice that some of the campaigns we have listed below don’t appeal exclusively to one sense, but they do seem to be more effective when they focus on making a big impact in one.


Refinery29’s 29 Rooms:
Ongoing since 2014, this is a whacky and wonderful way that the brand media and entertainment brand, Refinery29, allows people to interact with a series of rooms. They call it a “funhouse of style, culture and technology”. They’ve continued to innovate how they bring this to life every year by partnering with different creatives and brands to create a unique and compelling experience.

Sonic’s #SquareShakes:
Simple, effective and delicious. This brand headed to the most socially-sharable event, Coachella in 2016, to get the word out about their new line of shakes. And they did it all by simply creating bespoke square glasses (so they could make the picture perfect Insta pics).

Uber Eats House:
No prizes for guessing which sense this appealed to. A simple pop up exercise allowed people at SXSW to experience the convenience of Uber and it’s array of partner foodie favourites. To make it even more interesting, they added “interactive culinary, music and entertainment experiences”.

Art Department by Facebook:
What better way to teach people about the different creative programmes offered than creating a walk-through exhibit featuring work from more than a hundred artists from Facebook’s Artist in Residence (AIR) and Designer in Residence around-the-globe communities. Pair that with some epic screen printing and how-to-zine workshops and any art enthusiast is sold!

San Fran’s Ice-cream museum:
This was so much more than just taste. It’s something out of every child (and many an adult) dreams! Once an exhibition that moved around, it’s now found a permanent home in San Francisco. Here, visitors can jump into pools of sprinkles or ride aboard a cookie carousel. In the words of founder, Maryellis Bunn, “we believe in creating beautiful and shareable environments that foster IRL interaction and URL connections, providing fun, multi-sensorial expressions of ice cream that cater to the appetites of our generation.”

Red Bull Stratos:
A classic from 2012 that’ll never get old. This was an experiential stunt that gripped the attention (and the nerves) of millions of people, when parachutist Felix Baumgartner broke the sound barrier by free falling from the stratosphere back down to earth. Now that’s one way to cement yourself as a brand that supports extreme sports, isn’t it?

Sensitan’s Tech.Art Experiential Museum:
This Indian-based company is a forerunner of inspiration when it comes to marrying the potential of tech and art. One of the best parts of the museum is that it’s about giving people an opportunity to experience cutting-edge tech so they can learn and eventually build careers in this exciting field.


One of the key things to success with any experiential marketing campaign is recognising the amount of research needed to get it right. No matter how audacious or cutting-edge, no matter how high-tech or profound, if your campaign doesn’t resonate with the right audience, it’s not going to succeed. At Jawbone we love working with our clients to create experiential campaigns that are memorable.