Knorr has turned matchmaker for its new global campaign, Love at First Taste, which explores the idea of bringing people together based on their flavour preferences.

The campaign, which launches today, is targeted at millennial food obsessives who revel in sharing their creations on social media. It has two components; an online tool, Knorr Flavour Profiler, asks users 12 questions about their food preferences and based on their answers, assigns them to one of 12 flavour profiles – from the likes of Deep Sea Dreamer, Spicy Rebel and Roasted Romantic.

Alongside this, the Unilever brand has launched an online film, created by MullenLowe, in which strangers with the same flavour profile have dinner, with a twist – they’re asked to physically feed each other.

And it seems the idea has led to what must be every marketer’s dream: one of the pairs featured in the film stayed in touch and has since become a couple – meaning Knorr can reasonably claim to have made love blossom.

Ukonwa Ojo, senior global director for Knorr, told Marketing the duo had actively kept the brand’s team in the loop about their blossoming romance, and may be open to being featured in future stages of the campaign.

“They’re willing to share their story with us, so we now have a follow up diary of this couple,” says Ojo. “They completely hit it off, they continued to talk to each other, and now they’re a couple. I was like, I can’t believe love actually can happen! Can we cater the wedding?”

Love at First Taste follows Knorr’s Flavour of Home film, which became a viral hit, gathering more than 60m views on YouTube across its different language versions – and the follow up is based on the same idea: delving into the role flavour plays in our lives.

The flavours you love are intricately connected to how you were brought up, the memories you have, what your likes and dislikes are

“The idea came from the reason why the brand exists, its purpose, which is to bring flavour to people’s lives,” says Ojo.

In order to learn more about the significance flavour has for consumers, Knorr carried out a study involving 12,000 people in 12 countries across five continents, asking about people’s relationship with flavour, food and cooking.

“To be honest, we learned that it was even more important than we had originally thought,” she says. “We asked about what they would be willing to give up in place of flavour, and found that 68% would give up the right to vote, 65% a successful career, and 75% social media.

“All these things that are so fundamental to our lives and existence, they says they would choose flavour over that. That was in 12 different countries, so they really did transcend culture and language.”

One of the most fateful findings was that 78% of people said they would be more attracted to a partner if they enjoyed the same flavours – and a third would be concerned about long term compatibility if they didn’t. Ojo says the idea that a flavour preference match could be a good predictor of romantic potential had two aspects, one more psychological and the other rather more practical.

“First, we think that intuitively the flavours you love are intricately connected to how you were brought up, the memories you have, what your likes and dislikes are,” she says. “Secondly, it immediately gives you something you can talk about. There’s always that very nervous first date – you have a good first date, and it leads to a second date.”

The film was directed by Tatia Pilieva, most famous for creating the viral hit First Kiss. Ojo says Pilieva was a “really great partner” to work with – and it was her idea to have the participants feed each other.

“We had a great creative idea from MullenLowe, and we were all really excited about it, but it was nice to have her fresh approach as well.”

In First Kiss, various strangers are brought together and asked to kiss for the first time – so the parallels with the Knorr film are obvious, and it’s not surprising it has the same sensual feel as Pilieva’s previous creation. Is that what Ojo was aiming for?

“To be honest, no – but it was a pleasant surprise, and definitely made it more fun to watch. None of those people had ever met each other before, and we just asked them to eat together, so it was quite amazing what ended up happening as a result. It was definitely entertaining for us to watch and we hope that the rest of the world thinks so as well.”

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Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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