Hormel Foods is taking virtual reality to a whole new level by integrating the intoxicating scent we all know and love into an innovative marketing and advertising campaign. The company’s Black Market Bacon campaign, created to promote its premium thick-cut bacon line, not only brings a mobile virtual reality experience to its audience, but is promoting it with a limited supply of bacon-scented scratch-and-sniff Google Cardboard devices to amplify the experience even more. Users can watch, smell and “buy bacon with their eyes” through a variety of flavorscapes. The company boasts the Black Market Experience as “the first-ever mobile virtual reality shopping experience available to consumers via a smartphone that does not require using an application or headset.” BBDO Minneapolis, the world’s most awarded advertising agency according to AdAge, worked on the project.
In her presentation, Meg Miller, producer at Framestone VR Studio noted her company’s approach to developing successful VR experiences: You must start with the emotions, reactions and responses you want to elicit from your audience. The key to VR is placing “the user in the heart of the experience,” then building those concepts outward. Hormel is breaking the VR mold; They’re evoking responses by invigorating the senses. And that isn’t just with sense of smell. Hormel has partnered with musician, Reggie Watts to create musical stylings around sizzlin’ sounds, developed a bacon-focused Kickstarter campaign and film festival, and has partnered with YouTube influencer, Harley Morenstein, creator of the viral food channel, Epic Meal Time. The company even built an eco-friendly motorcycle that runs on bacon grease fuel.
Through VR, the marketer can trigger the sensorial experience of sight, help the viewer understand what the food looks like, and, as science has proven, help influence taste and smell. In addition to seeing the final product, food companies can use VR to show how the food is grown, handled, prepared, what it can be mixed with, how others are enjoying it and more. All of these experiences can help an individual build an emotional bond with the product.