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Mastering experiential marketing with Studio H

A 10 metre high twinkling Christmas tree made out of Moët et Chandon bottles, 3D printed butter, a food memory archive and pop-up dinners that use no water in its creation is just a taste of the activations that culinary-inspired design studio Studio H has successfully implemented. We chat with founder Hannerie Visser about how they are using food to design brand experiences and create memorable campaigns for their clients.
“Research shows that up to 89% of traditional advertising content is now ignored by the consumer. Advertising can be skipped or muted, but attending an event or engaging with an experience is a decision. Science shows that the more senses you stimulate, the longer you will remember something,” Visser.

Hannerie Visser
BizcommunityCan you give us some background on how Studio H came to be?

I started my career in the magazine industry at New Media Publishing where I worked for 13 years. By the time I left, I was the group publisher for a number of leading titles including VISI and Woolworths Taste.

Today, I run my own design studio, Studio H, which was founded in 2012 - a multi-disciplinary design studio, specialising in experience and brand design. Our experiences are uniquely designed to manipulate the impact that science and psychology have on the senses to create long-lasting memories associated with our clients’ brands.

Our client list includes, amongst others, Woolworths, Nando’s, Heineken, Visa, Moët et Chandon, the V&A Waterfront and our own projects such Chips! And the annual Streetfood Festival in Cape Town and Johannesburg, the Kids Food Studio and the S/Zout Future Food project, that included a series of waterless dinners.

S/Zout Future Food pop-up waterless dinner

BizcommunityWhat is your philosophy when it comes to experiential marketing?

Studio H’s approach is sensorial. We are in the business of creating memories so that people recall the brand associated with that memory for longer. It is a memory that creates brand affinity, and which — in the long run — leads to purchases of that brand.

Globally we’re seeing a massive shift to experiential marketing because of the multisensory, immersive nature of experiences. Even digital brands are moving into the real world to create experiences. Google, for example, now hosts about 650 events a year in Europe alone.

Nando's media dinner

This is because it can take years, and millions of Rands worth of investment, to build real connections and engagement with people. But with food, science and experiential marketing, we can make this happen in less than a second.

BizcommunityWhat would be your top tips for creating impactful campaigns for local branding and marketing companies?

Experiences are the new currency; it’s what the younger generations use to measure success and wealth, it gives them social currency. I would make experiential a substantial part of the marketing budget - clever brands know how important relationships with their customers are.

BizcommunityWhat have been some of Studio H’s most memorable and successful activations?

The social media-activated Moët & Chandon Christmas tree out of recycled champagne bottles just because it was so spectacular and the location right next to the Zeitz MOCAA in the V&A’s Silo District was perfect!

Moët & Chandon Champagne Christmas Tree

Studio H’s annual Street Food Festival in Cape Town and Joburg, because it celebrates every-day food and supports food entrepreneurs.

BizcommunityCan you tell us about your 3D Food Printer, how this works, how it will be utilised and the concept behind it?

At Studio H, we are constantly on the lookout to see how food will change in the future, and how technology influences the way that we eat and food printing is the latest technological advance in the presentation and rationing of the world’s most precious resource.

3d printed butter at the Business Insider launch at Design Indaba 2018

With the world population set to reach 8 billion by 2024, the challenge is on to feed the world in a sustainable, safe and healthy manner. Food printing could allow consumers to print food with customised nutritional content, tailored specifically to their individual dietary needs. So instead of eating something mass-produced from the supermarket, one could soon consume something designed just for individual needs and tastes, on demand.

We recently introduced the advances in food printing technology to local and international guests at the Business Insider launch at Design Indaba 2018, where Studio H was the food experience curator. More presentations are planned, notably for Discovery Vitality in March.

Business of Design speaker Q&A: Hannerie Visser

Business of Design (BoD) is back with a speaker lineup of note. The two-day seminar is held annually in Cape Town and Johannesburg during October and doesn't just focus on design in itself but has a much broader vision for the field in all areas of business...

By Jessica Tennant 9 Oct 2017

BizcommunityHow do you see marketing strategies evolving over the next few years?

Definitely seeing a big move to experiential and of course digital – the perfect combo.

BizcommunityLove the Studio H CI, who does your branding and designs?

Hoick designed our CI and other Studio H brand collateral. They are fine artists so they have an extremely sensitive and quite intellectual approach to design, that I love.

BizcommunityWhat is your desert island dish?

I feel like you can go a long way with eggs – so maybe instead of concentrating on one dish, I may take along a live hen who will not only keep me company but provide organic eggs for daily recipe creation? Or I would take a variety of veggie seeds so I could plant my own veggie garden.

BizcommunityWhat is your guilty pleasure when it comes to food?

Doughnuts from The General Store in Bree Street, Cape Town.

BizcommunityWhat’s your favourite emoji?

Heart eyes! And high five.

Street Food Festival

BizcommunityWhat is Studio H currently working on and what’s next?

We are working hard on the Street Food Festival that’s grown into a fully-fledged festival consisting of more than 10 food events taking place in Cape Town and Joburg over 10 days from 31 August to 9 September this year. We are also working on many client projects (we often sign NDAs so we can’t reveal too much). We’re already working on next year’s Convivium that’s taking place in June and we’re also working on a few Christmas campaigns as well. Our next event is a Waterless Dinner hosted for Earth Hour where we are teaming up with the V&A and Sun International – we’re designing glow-in-the-dark jellies for when the lights go out - can’t wait!
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About Ruth Cooper

Ruth is the production manager at Bizcommunity, as well as a editor of the Lifestyle section.