A pocketable cell phone/music player isn’t the most obvious candidate for sensory marketing, but it seems to have worked for Verizon’s Chocolate phone made by Korea’s LG. The campaign for Chocolate, and its mastermind John Harrobin, were cited as one of Ad Age’s Marketing 50 – Fifty Sharp Ideas and the Visionaries Who Saw Them Through. Nearly three and a half million Chocolates have been sold since introduction.

Its seduction was featured in TV spots simply showing the phone unwrapped, as if it were a chocolate bar. But the secret sauce went beyond paid media to include wild postings, radio and YouTube videos.

Internally, John Harrobin, 38, VP-advertising and digital media, peppered sales teams in stores with alerts and other teasers about the phone’s launch. “We romanced the phone in a way we hadn’t done before,” he says… [Verizon] never officially sold the phones with chocolate, although a number of retailers did go for the nose by wafting chocolate fragrance and scattering chocolates on displays.

For me, at least, a key of the sensory marketing appeal of this phone was the engaging music in every commercial, Strict Machine by GoldFrapp – very distinctive song with real earworm (“get stuck in your head”) potential. Combining that with the seductive video images of liquid chocolate, these commercials turn a piece of electronic gear into something else entirely. Adding a chocolate fragrance in some of the stores was certainly a way to bring the commercials to mind and stimulate the senses of the shoppers. It would definitely be interesting to see how the Chocolate sales rate compared in the stores with and without fragrance.

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