SAY IT WITH FEEL­INGS

TO LEAVE AN IM­PRES­SION, FOOD BRANDS ARE TAP­PING NOT INTO PEO­PLE’S AP­PETITES, BUT THEIR EMO­TIONS

F&B World - - SPE­CIAL FEA­TURE - Text by ROMEO MO­RAN Il­lus­tra­tions by BOIZEI MAL­IC­DEM

It’s been a slow evo­lu­tion— as grad­ual as a cater­pil­lar co­coon­ing it­self be­fore turn­ing into a but­ter­fly— but stark ob­servers of cul­ture may have per­ceived some­thing no­table: Brands have be­gun to sell con­sumers their prod­ucts by not so much the mer­its of the ac­tual good, but through ex­pe­ri­ences and emo­tions.

What was once a re­lent­less push of the thing one shouldn’t be miss­ing out on is now a spot­light shone on ev­ery lit­tle pos­si­ble thing you could feel on a tan­gent con­nected to the prod­uct. You might have no­ticed by now that this isn’t as prom­i­nent and preva­lent as it is in food, where a mil­lion dif­fer­ent feel­ings could be as­so­ci­ated with a sin­gle bite— or the thought thereof. They’ve made so much fic­tion out of this as well as non­fic­tion that seems too good to be true.

Think of brands like Jol­libee, which ap­par­ently sells heart­break along with its burgers and fried chicken; of fran­chises like Max’s, which has swerved into an ex­plo­ration of the weird in or­der to catch at­ten­tion and main­tain rel­e­vance just by be­ing talked about; of prod­ucts like Cen­tury Tuna and Ga­torade, which in­spire some to be the best they can be by way of what they put in their bod­ies.

The truth is many have al­ready wielded this emo­tional ma­nip­u­la­tion over the his­tory of the in­dus­try, but it’s only now that the hu­man psy­che— and ev­ery­thing it wants— has been so front and cen­ter in brand­ing. It’s fi­nally started to be­come more about why peo­ple eat than what peo­ple eat. That still mat­ters, but now just as much.

BUILD­ING A BRAND

“The food and bev­er­age in­dus­try has al­ways op­er­ated at the mercy of the chang­ing tastes and pref­er­ences of the con­sumer,” says Gela Gam­boa- Pec­son, mar­ket­ing man­ager of Cen­tury Tuna, which has

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