Why does Unilever's Axe 'Sound' Masculine?

Our sense of sound, sight, touch, taste, self-motion, and smell don't work independently. Professor Charles Spence of Oxford University has conclusively proved the intimate connection between our senses. He is, in fact, a leader in the field of Senseploration - the investigation of how our senses mingle and interconnect. 

Marketing departments and product-design agencies have increasingly started using Spence's findings. In 2006, the FMCG giant Unilever commissioned a study to find whether volume and pitch of the sound from an aerosol affected a person's perception of the pleasantness or forcefulness of the deodorant inside. Based on the findings, the company invested in a packaging redesign for Axe deodorant, complete with new nozzle technology. The underarm spray, which is targeted at young men, now sounds noticeably louder than the company’s gentler, female-targeted Dove brand

See how you score on this sensory test!

Source: Accounting for Taste by Nicola Twilley, The New Yorker

Spence's other fascinating finds:
1. Coke's red color is associated with sweetness. In one experiment, participants perceived salty popcorn as tasting sweet when it was served in a red bowl. Sorry, White Coke Can!

2. Curved shapes can enhance sweetness. In one experiment, diners reported that a cheesecake tasted twenty percent sweeter when it was eaten from a round white plate rather than a square one. No wonder Cadbury faced a revolt over its new curvier Dairy Milk.

3. Hard k sound is associated with bitterness, while a softer b can make products seem sweeter. Remember, Cadbury's Koko-brand milk-chocolate truffles?

4. Best coffee is served in white mugs because it tastes nearly twice as intense but only two-thirds as sweet when it is drunk from a white mug

Discover Senseploration through this video:


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