Write a Brief For Your Nose

EYEO 2022: GRACE BOYLE

I understand why 99.99% of all briefs are written to facilitate action through just one of our senses. I’d be hard pressed to convey the same thought through any of the other 21 to 32 senses we contain which aren’t sight. (FYI, we’ve had more than five senses since at least 1964.)

But Grace Boyle encourages us to try harder. Because there’s profound meaning to be had, exclusive of sight. And we just might trigger better results as a result.

In her EYEO 2022 Festival presentation, Boyle used experiences amidst Shinto temples and Amazon jungles to suggest the value of storytelling cues received via smell, touch, sound, proprioception, thermoception, et al. From the standpoint of strategy and briefing, we would benefit from asking: Which sense best dominates the moment we’re trying to influence? How much more impact might we deliver by considering the emotional placement, the orchestration of senses along an experience? In her work at The Feelies, Boyle seeks to unite and leverage all of our senses — often in contradiction to the primacy of screen-based digital.

Her work reminds me of a quote by Rory Sutherland, from his book Alchemy,

“there are hundreds of seemingly irrational solutions to human problems just waiting to be discovered, if only we dare to abandon standard-issue, naïve logic in the search for answers.”

In writing about behavioral economics, Sutherland says, “Nature spends a great deal of resources on what might be called ‘perception hacking.’” Boyle asserts we would do well to leverage these resources, to expand our storytelling strategies beyond the exclusivity of sight. And in so doing, we create reactions, memory and feedback that stands apart.

Originally published at Useful Lunacy

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