Over in Flavors, ‘the other Michael’ was now officially a part of his own little CMS, for while I was expanding mine, the head of Flavors for North America, Mr. Leslie Blau, was building his own. A new position was created, and they found yet another tall dark and handsome guy, with similar Mediterranean features, and a command of three languages, to be the first Creative Marketing Manager for Flavors North America, or anywhere else for that matter. Having already secured Matt for our side, Michael and I took it upon ourselves to judge another Art Director’s Club of NJ portfolio review at the Ramada Inn in East Brunswick, NJ. We left with an amazing young designer, Kristen, and together with Michael, they would be the official CMS for Flavors, for all three business units now, and reporting directly to Emmanuel Frenck. Affectionately known simply as Emm, he had been relocated to Princeton via Miami via Mexico, and seemed to have a perpetual tan to match. By the time we moved our studio and offices over to the new N-building, and began seriously reporting to Joanne, Emm was promoted to Global Creative Marketing Director and proceeded to introduce and integrate our Trenz tool, worldwide, to the entire Flavor Division. A collaboration was not just inevitable, it was mandatory, and it would take the form of a Sensorium®.

With a budget of $150,000, split equally between Joanne and Emm, there was a dream team in place to create, design, and execute the first cross-Divisional Sensorium® to be held in its own designated space. We always start the process with the same question, “The customer gets off the elevator, and then what?” How were they invited? Did they have to do or bring anything before they got here? Where do they put their coats? Do they take off their shoes? How long do we want their attention? What do we do with them while they’re here? When they leave, do they take anything with them? It wasn’t until we had the answers to those questions, that a concept could be developed around the framework of the latest from our Trenz toolbox, and any Pantone color associations we wanted to assign to it. It was total creative freedom with just enough budget to execute our wildest, multisensorial ideas designed to inspire our customers and colleagues alike. Like an amusement park for your senses, we would guide teams of ten or less through five rooms of living Trenz. Immersive, experiential, engagingly interactive, and all-together inspiring, we had raised the bar to new extraordinary heights. The ‘S.E.L.F.’ Sensorium® was only supposed to be up for two months, but demand, from both divisions, kept it running for nearly six. It was extremely taxing on the application and marketing teams, but the camaraderie was unprecedented. When it was over, so was the successful run of our CMS. Joanne quickly eliminated Matt’s position to get herself that other marketing head that she so desperately wanted, and I took off for Flavors weeks later, saving us both any further aggravation.

Two years later, it was time to create the second Sensorium® to be built in that space, but with 30% less funding and new cooks in the kitchen. Jim, and his bad toupee, was hired by Joanne to fill either mine or Matt’s head count, and he brought in his husband, Enzo, as a freelance project manager to keep track of the spending and timing of our ‘Living Stories.’ With the exact same criteria, and an entirely different, 180o opposite execution, the deliverable was no less a magical experience for anyone that attended, but it would be the end of the era. The budget all but disappeared, the designated space was quietly filled with cubicles, Joanne moved on to another role, and Emmanuel was being relocated to Geneva.

He and Gary came into my office – together - which could only mean one of two things. Emm told me that he was being promoted to VP of Global Marketing for Flavors, and that he’d now be reporting directly to Gary, who had already relocated to headquarters in Geneva. Without even asking, Emm said, “You will now be the Creative Marketing Director for Flavors North America and report to me.” Fully endorsed, I was back in CMS, but in a bigger way, with a new and expanded team. Perfumery had changed CMS to CMI, which now stood for Consumer Marketing Insights, and I quietly began to refer to the work we were doing in Flavor's CMS as Conceptual Design.

1 comment

  • Michael Katz

    I noticed that “Sensorium” is a trademarked label. Who holds the trademark and does the picture you included at the beginning reflect the atmosphere when clients “get off the elevator”? Must have been interesting period of time during all those changes.

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