Hakuhodo begins cross-modal perception experiments with UTokyo

May 25, 2022
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A collaboration with Associate Professor Takuji Narumi of The University of Tokyo

Experiment 1: Music that Amplifies the Taste of Beer

Tokyo—May 25, 2022—Hakuhodo Inc., an integrated marketing and innovation company, is pleased to announce that its Human X (“human cross”) project team has commenced an experimental activity, Human X Experiment (“human cross experiment”), in collaboration with Associate Professor Takuji Narumi of The University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Information Science and Technology to utilize cross-modal perception (the interaction of the senses) in the development of brand experiences for companies.

This is an initiative to design sei-katsu-sha* interfaces (points of contact between a company/brand and sei-katsu-sha) from the perspective of the human body and the senses using sensorial and scientific approaches.

Hakuhodo has defined brand-based business growth and business transformation through sei-katsu-sha insight as Brand Transformation (BX), and offers corporate support and solutions to achieve this goal. In an age when everything is connected digitally, to be chosen by sei-katsu-sha and remain connected with them over time, brands not only need to utilize technology and data, but also provide rich experiences that engage sei-katsu-sha’s senses and emotions.

Human X takes on the challenge of developing such new brand experiences. A team within the specialized organization Hakuhodo Brand & Innovation Design, Human X has been developing unique products and services using cross-modal perception since its inception in 2018. Its products, which combine different senses to address challenges faced by sei-katsu-sha, have gained wide support. They include Write More, a board that makes writing fun, and pacoo, a food education fork.

In a new initiative for the Human X team, a collaborative framework has been established with The University of Tokyo Associate Professor Takuji Narumi, a pioneer in cross-modal interface research, which has commenced Human X Experiment to conduct empirical research on how cross-modal perception could be used in brand experience and Brand Transformation.

One specific activity is a series of experiments titled “XX × Sensory Experience Design,” which will study topics closely related to sei-katsu-sha’s everyday lives. Under the supervision of Associate Professor Narumi, it will develop mechanisms for enriching lives with combinations of different senses using sensorial and scientific approaches. The results of the experiments will be made public periodically.

At the same time, by combining cross-modal knowledge gained from these activities with the company’s brand personality, the Human X team will also engage in brand development, worldview creation, experience creation, R&D, and new business development that focus on the physicality and emotions of sei-katsu-sha, to help companies transform their brands.

Prototype from the first empirical experiment, “Taste x Hearing,” unveiled

The potential of sound to amplify the taste of beer

Today, a prototype from the first round of empirical research, “Taste x Hearing,” was unveiled. Music that Amplifies the Taste of Beer was developed using scientific and sensory approaches based on scientific evidence that was verified using existing academic research.

When listened to while drinking beer, the music enhances the various textures of the beer, creating a new taste experience. Focusing on sensory amplification through attention control, the music magnifies deliciousness by creating heightened feelings of being in the moment through the exaggeration of real sounds and by evoking mouthfeel with a combination of different sound effects.

From the intro, which raises expectations before the first mouthful, to a series of musical clips that amplify the sensation of creaminess, intensify the feeling of frothiness, and boost the sensation of the beer going down the throat, listening to the music while enjoying a beer enables experiencing new tastes, including with the passage of time.

The sound source of the music is available free of charge on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/1c0oSU6A5SG2slNfrZ156b



Music Links: Album “BEER” (You will need to log in to Spotify first.)
♪ Intro: Imagine BEER
♪ Texture 1: Creamy Creamy
♪ Texture 2: Light Soda
♪ Texture 3: Heavy Nodogoshi
♪ Outro: Texture Journey


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* “Sei-katsu-sha” is a term we use to describe people not simply as consumers, but as fully rounded individuals with their own lifestyles, aspirations and dreams.


Note 1
In Japan, drinking alcohol under the age of 20 is prohibited by law. This experience has been developed for use by persons 20 years of age and older.


Note 2
The sound sources developed in this experiment were created without elements specific to any beer brand. When developing a brand for a company using this technology going forward, we will design an individual experience that takes into consideration the personality of the brand.

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