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There is no arguing about taste, but something can be said

Can we link taste to sound? Or link sound to taste? Or do we associate tastes mainly driven by visual stimuli?

With these questions, we conducted a small taste, image & sound experiment during Adnight 2022. A few hundred young creative professionals visited Herengracht 433 to link sounds, images, and flavours in a small test. The preliminary results are follows:

  • Acid & sound = 54% correct pairing by the audience
  • Sweet & sound = 54% correct pairing by the audience
  • Bitter & sound = 70% correct coupling by the audience
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When prompting the audience, the associations with flavours appear more strongly when the correct sound is linked to a matching image. By combining image and sound appropriately, we can therefore increase the associative experience and taste sensation. The image appears to be leading when the audience describes the accompanying sound, and the taste associations of the image are then reinforced by the right music.

With this fun little research set up, Amp.Amsterdam, Chuck Studios, and SUE & The Alchemists put a playful spotlight on the power of the right combinations of image and sound. At the same time, they highlighted the ease with which associative values ​​can be tested. The three parties have mentioned that they may continue to produce these types of experiments together moving forward. Through research in their combined fields of work, there is still a lot to learn, especially for brands.

Diederik van Middelkoop / Amp.Amsterdam: “Fortunately, brands appear to have an increasing appreciation of knowledge we gain from behavioral sciences. Music and sound activate the fast, emotional part of our brain, and we see their strong influence, every day. Not just when it comes to creative content and communication, but on how the public makes actual (purchasing) decisions. The ‘System 1’ part of the brain (as defined by Daniel Kahneman) is a leading factor in those decisions, which is why it is important to help communication professionals to become more aware of it. After all, it is about the effectiveness of communication.”

Olaf van Gerwen / Chuck Studios: “It was a fun initiative to ask the AdNight audience these questions and display small discoveries about how our brain works. We often think we know, but this simple test reveals that we can keep learning. Stimulation of the senses is essential when it comes to sound and image. We’ve known for years that it’s important to realize how one influences the other, but some questions still remain. Image, sound and taste experience are inextricably linked. Even the actual sounds of certain words seem to illustrate this: “bitter” sounds sharp, just like the corresponding taste.”

Marieke Riemslag / SUE & The Alchemists: “Daniel Kahneman’s work has shown us that the vast majority of our decisions are made by our automatic, intuitive brain. How can brands use this knowledge to stand out in the clutter of information that comes to us every day? What words trigger the automatic, intuitive brain and open us up to their actual message? In addition to words and text, the power of image and sound is often underestimated. Using research to find out what intuitive associations (image/sound) evoke a certain sense of taste in people, we can start to direct all senses to reinforce each other. With the right combination, the listener will also taste, when he hears and sees.”

The online test is available via this link.

Would you like to know more about the test or how you can have the sound of your brand tested? 

Please contact Maurice at Amp.Amsterdam // The Sonic Branding Company


Maurice Paans

Client Director

Contact Maurice