Using Multisensory Experience for Innovation Impact

As fellow trend watching innovators would likely agree, once a trend is sparked, not much fanning is needed for the flame to spread, either within a segment or across segments. While not new, one trend that has shown fascinating staying power– migrating between food, hospitality, beauty, fashion, wellness, music and back again– is the quest for multisensory experiences. For many, especially Gen Z, this is much more valuable and accumulating more stuff.

What’s underneath this trend? Maybe it’s a post-covid “what really matters” mentality, maybe it’s our attempts to lower our personal carbon footprint, or maybe it’s Gen Xers like me just wanting to make our “second half” count. Regardless of motivation, brands and products engage us on multiple sensory levels are more memorable, and likely to command more loyalty.

This edition spotlights 3 multisensory collaborations in some of my favorite categories—booze and ice cream! As I will always do, I’ve cited 3 examples and implications for this trend—humble opinion of 1:

1)     Spot On– An example of the trend I think is “sticky” and well executed

2)     Missed the Mark – A well-intended, but poorly executed example

3)     What the… An example I can’t quite relate to or don’t see gaining traction

 1.      Spot On: Dove Ice Cream Cool Down Kits

This limited time Dove Ice Cream Cool Down Kit was launched last summer to coincide with International self-care day in late July—hot times in the city!

What’s effective about this creative kit (sold online while supplies lasted) is its timely and unexpected combination of two completely different self-indulgent categories that somehow works together!

Each kit pairs a box of Dove’s signature ice cream bars with a curated set of Cooling Zoe Ayla self-care tools, like mini facial ice globes, a cooling cloth or a handheld stainless-steel roller. In a fun sensory twist, the skin tools can be stored in the freezer for moments of relaxation and cooling down! Just thinking of a hot summer afternoon, I can almost taste the creaminess and feel the cooling… self-pampering at its best!

No alt text provided for this image

2.      Missed the Mark: Cacique Cinco De Mayo Queso Cocktail Kit


No alt text provided for this image


To be fair, this Cacique Cinco De Mayo queso and cocktail kit almost had me. The core idea is strong—a seasonal “Fiesta in a Box” kit available for home delivery in the days leading up to and following Cinco de Mayo. The brand partnered with a mixologist to curate a set of 3 queso varieties with 3 unique tequila-based Margarita blends. The image shown to promote it sets the right tone, evoking the flavors, visuals, and music of a gregarious celebration.

But in my view, the execution misses the mark by not following all the way through on a true pop-up fiesta—mostly because it excludes the chips! An easy add, the lack of which could pose an inconvenience when the craving for queso and margaritas strikes! To further strengthen the offering, and increase the price point, the kit COULD have included other fixings like limes, salt, colorful napkins, and a link to a Reggaetón Spotify playlist! Without these, not sure it warrants the planned purchase and likely upcharge vs. buying the queso and tequila separately.

3. What the…Miller High Life Ice Cream Dive Bars

No alt text provided for this image

While I love beer, and ice cream, and even some dive bars, this collaboration between Miller High Life and Tipsy Scoop features beer infused ice cream bars with 5% ABV does not hit for me.

While just as unique a combination as the Dove cooling kit, this product gets credit for pulling the theme through to multiple sensory elements – from the MHL Ice Cream Dive Bar name, to the flavor and aromatic cues: the item’s description references peanut swirls to evoke the quintessential dive bar snack, a “hint of tobacco smoke flavor” and a gooey caramel swirl to mimic the “distinct sticky dive bar floor feeling”. It even includes carbonated candy inside the mix to evoke the fizziness of beer!

While I do find this example arresting and memorable, I have a hard time getting past the unappealing combination of beer, chocolate and ice cream—not to mention a hint of tobacco smoke. And, while the specific product features bring the concept to life, I suspect it would take some serious thinking to connect a caramel swirl with a bar room floor. Lastly, I suspect a consumer disconnect– Miller High Life is a male targeted brand while ice cream novelties may skew female.

All in all, I give this collab an A for multisensory effort (that likely yielded strong PR)… but I’m still grossed out.

Source: TrendHunter 2023 Dashboard

Leave a Comment