Original Research

The influence of selected senses on consumer experience: A brandy case

Chris Pentz, Charlene Gerber
Acta Commercii | Vol 13, No 1 | a183 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v13i1.183 | © 2013 Chris Pentz, Charlene Gerber | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 March 2013 | Published: 14 May 2013

About the author(s)

Chris Pentz, Department of Business Management, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Charlene Gerber, Department of Business Management, Stellenbosch University, South Africa


Orientation: Sensory marketing has become a popular marketing technique to enhance consumer experience. Researchers have suggested that marketers should incorporate as many senses as possible in order for sensory marketing to be effective.

Research purpose: To investigate the influence of selected senses – sight, sound and smell – on consumers’ experience, specifically in terms of the tastiness of brandy.

Motivation for the study: Even though the use of the senses such as sight, sound and smell is a popular sensory marketing tool in the field of experiential marketing, applying such marketing techniques is a challenging and costly exercise for marketers, and researchers have called for more studies on senses and consumer experience.

Research design, approach and method: A full factorial laboratory experiment (2 x 2 x 2) was conducted where 240 spirits consumers indicated the tastiness of a brandy sample under certain conditions.

Main findings: Results revealed that, within a laboratory setting, consumers recorded lower levels of tastiness under conditions where more senses were manipulated than in conditions where less senses were manipulated.

Practical/managerial implications: The results of the study coincided with previous results, which indicated that, within certain product categories, sensory marketing could actually decrease the consumer’s experience as sensory overload could occur.

Contribution/value-add: In the endeavour to reduce possible sensory overload in the alcohol industry, the findings suggest that marketers should not apply sensory marketing indiscriminately to all product categories. For example, on a retail level, where experimental marketing might be too costly or even too complex to apply to some product categories, marketers should rather rethink the use of sensory marketing strategies within certain industries and focus on other marketing strategies, such a brand building.


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