A creative agency like no other, Condiment Junkie combines science and innovation with a revolutionary method called "sensory architecture". Bringing brands to life through all five senses, those lucky enough to attend their once-in-a-lifetime taste events are in for an experience to remember.
We caught up with the London-based agency's Russ and Lindsey Jones to find out more about their unique company, as well as their take on Godiva’s 90th anniversary event in Brussels that was curated by Condiment Junkie.
CHOCOLATE NOTES: How was Condiment Junkie founded?
RUSS JONES: We formed in 2009 to help brands to help brands communicate the way humans respond best, through all five senses. I used to work in film and TV, and am fascinated with how sound and music affect powerfully affect our emotions. It was our work with chef Heston Blumenthal of The Fat Duck that inspired us to explore the world of taste experiences fully.
CN: Tell us a bit about your 'sensory architecture' philosophy.
RJ: As humans, we don't just experience the world through our eyes; everything we do involves our senses. We constantly soak up information through sounds, smells, colours, shapes and textures. We believe that brands should approach how they communicate in the same way - through every sense.
CN: In today's digital age, where so much time is spent gazing at screens, why are live brand experiences still important?
RJ: Exactly for that reason! The more digital our world gets, the more meaningful real world experiences become. Consumers want something extra when they go out to a shop or an event; more than they can get online. A sensorial approach to those experiences delivers what they are seeking.
CN: What kinds of challenges do you face when putting together a sensorial experience?
RJ: The balance of elements. For example, people don't want to be blasted with aroma, but it needs to be detectable. Also, what we do has to be entirely on-brand whilst also being something no-one has ever seen, heard or smelt before - it has to stand out.
LINDSEY JONES: It's important to come up with innovative ways to deliver experiences. Like the aroma organ designed for Godiva's 90th event; a new way of experiencing fresh aromas of ingredients that also told a story visually about the importance of harmony in recipes.
CN: How did your partnership with Godiva first come about?
LJ: Having picked up on some of the unique experiences we had created for our premium drinks clients, Godiva invited us to explore how we could bring some multi-sensory magic to their 90th celebrations.
CN: What were your aims for the 90th anniversary party?
RJ: For guests to feel and experience Godiva in a way they never had before. The idea was that everything in the environment should embody all that the brand stands for. We also wanted to include sampling experiences as fun rituals that deliver ultimate taste, while telling the story of each iconic chocolate.
CN: Tell us a bit about your approach. It can't have been easy to create an event that celebrated Godiva's amazing heritage, luxury status and landmark birthday?
RJ: We explored how we could reflect the brand across all the senses, using a scientific understanding of how the senses interact and how our brains map and associate different sensory stimulus. Then, we formed a picture of what the brand sounds and smells like – what textures, materials and shapes encapsulated and enhanced it. This ‘sensory identity’ was manifested in the [Godiva 90th] space design and amongst the various experiences.
LJ: We began by immersing ourselves in Godiva, by speaking to key people like the Godiva chefs to delve into what makes the brand unique. Then we came up with a big idea – the ‘layer by layer’ journey we take when we devour a box of chocolates, discovering tastes and textures. With so many stories to tell around the brand’s heritage, iconic products and relentless innovation, we wanted to dedicate a layer to each of those three ‘chapters’.
The more digital our world gets, the more meaningful real world experiences become
CN: If you could choose anything, what would be a dream project to take on at Condiment Junkie?
LJ: To use our 'sensory brand science' approach to inform the design of a new retail flagship, ensuring that everything from the space design to product POS (aka ‘point of sale’). We would also look into a holistic design for the whole experience, with brand and product attributes conveyed through every customer touchpoint. We believe it's the future of retail design!
CN: Speaking of the future, how do you see the sensory industry evolving over the next 5-10 years?
LJ: Sensory marketing is still in its formative stage. Gradually, we see it becoming an integral part of how brands communicate with their audiences. New technologies will be developed to provide the best means of delivering sensorial elements into environments, especially in retail where space – and often budgets – provide barriers to innovation.
Find out more about Condiment Junkie at condimentjunkie.co.uk.