Engaging the Senses: Making Ambient Advertising Work Better

One of the best and most effective strategies in guerilla marketing is the ambient advertising, which is mostly done as a public installation for a specific brand and onlookers can interact and have a firsthand experience with it. Ambient advertising is a unique and creative way for companies to gain popularity through word-of-mouth and social media exposure.

Most examples of ambient advertising are visually striking, which is understandable as the initial reaction of onlookers is to take a photo of the installation and share it online. It has to be visually appealing in this ultra-visual modern age. But by emphasizing too much on the appearance, you may leave out engaging the remaining senses: hearing, taste, touch, and the sense of smell.

Engaging all of your audience’s senses will make your ambient installation more memorable. With visuals, people may post it online and that’s it. It is good with getting the word out and giving some momentary exposure to your brand. But if your ambient installation has provided your audience with an experience that is so remarkable and memorable, not only are they going to share this experience online, they are also going to tell their family and friends about it over a dinner party, they may not stop talking about it in their workplace, and you may even gain one more customer who is willing to try out your product or your service. When done right, engaging your audience’s senses through ambient advertising works better.

I once had this experience of passing by a bakery and the smell of freshly baked bread wafted through the streets as their display window was full of these sumptuous baked goods. I knew I got to get in and buy some. Now, every time I get the chance, I always go to that bakery to buy my bread. I have learned later on that that delightful smell is a deliberate ploy to lure people into their shop. And I am not mad at it; in fact, I am amazed and convinced. They have reinforced their otherwise spectacular display window with the wonderful smell of bread, which works so well.

This strategy can be used in ambient advertising – upping the visuals with other sensations like scents, sounds, touch, and even taste. But of course, consider how the elements will work together and if it is an important feature of your product or your service. It must be done with such finesse to avoid it being too glaring and unnecessary. For example, you may not want to add the sense of taste if you are marketing a music streaming service. However, you can use an audio-visual approach. But then, do not be too limited; perhaps you can be creative and incorporate a sensation that may at first seem superfluous into an ambient installation and make it flawless and marvelous. It is all up to you and how you design it to fit your brand.

So next time you are coming up with a design for your next ambient installation, think of the great visuals, yes, but do not stop there. Remember to consider engaging all of the senses.