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