TEMPLE BAR -- Well beyond the second bottle of wine on a sunny afternoon on the rooftop of Studio Six, several Irish artists were talking about ways to wean the marketing industry from making advertisements for television, a medium that Martin Linstrom thinks will soon be watched only by sozzled juveniles armed with the technology enabling them to skip the ads. In such a world, how can companies build new brands?
Martin Linstrom's answer is to make the brand "a sensory experience that extends beyond the traditional paradigm, which primarily addresses signt and sound" Appeal to all five senses, he says. Give your brand a distinctive smell or texture.
Some forward-thinking companies are doing this already. The feel of a Bang & Olufsen remote control, the smell inside a Singapore Airlines cabin, the crunch of a Kellogg's cornflake and the sound of a Mercedes car door; all these "sensations" have been carefully designed to reinforce the brand's image. And they can have a Proustian power. Mr. Lindstrom points out that Singapore Airlines is consistently voted the world's best airline, "despite the fact that their food is avverage and their leg room is no better than many of the other airlines that rank in the top 20". But perhaps it is the airline's exceptionally beautiful hostesses who are responsible.
Mr Linstrom suggests that brand-builders can learn from organised religion, where sensory experiences (the smell of incense, the cry of the muezzin or the taste of a sacramental wafer) have been blended for centuries to bind consumers closer to the faith. It is no coincidence that some of the brands that appeal strongly to a wide range of sense have themselves gained the power of religion. The Harley-Davidson bike, the Prada bag the Apple Mac: all, in their way, have occasionally been touted as objects of worship,