Tagged: sonic brand

Sennheiser tickles your fancy with a bit of chase me

How to market headphones


1. Get a bit name celeb, ideally a sports star, to wear your headphones wherever they go.

2. Put a big name sports star in a really long music based ad, aka a music video.

3. Make the headphones really expensive.

4. Give your brand a sub-title featuring a hip hop star name.


1. Try something creative.

Looks like Sennheiser have gone for option 2. Their products are not known for their bling value and so they have relied on things like sound quality and build to get them fans. In their latest marketing campaign they are trying to add some sex appeal, I’m not sure if you are into little moustachioed man dressed as headphones while he caressing a big ear. It is nice to see Sennheiser trying something different in the massively male focused world of big headphones for its launch of the Urbanite product line, lets hope it works as I’ve always thought they were way better than many big name medically backed products.

To build on the fun fetishistic ads they have also added a social campaign called “The Golden Ears“. Basically you use your Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr account to access the location of one of the Golden Ears in London or New York. Run like the wind to the location, find the Golden Ear and boom you get a lovely pair of £200 cans. If you get there a little late then you can still win by posting an Ear Selfie on Instagram. Its pretty simple, its not the most original idea but its simple and fun so it deserves some love and maybe a some “forbodan pleasure”.

Fun and nicely integrated, the campaign chips away at Sennheiser’s grey plastic image. It is always nice to see something different in the headphone space, Beats has become such a juggernaut that it is difficult for other brands to push to the front of the queue and it is also good to see something that doesn’t focused on the intensity and pain of being massively rich and famous.

If you have nothing to do this week and fancy winning some nice cans click here, take a photo of your ears, you know they are sexy (said in pseudo sexual German accent).


Hudl round for some happy sounds

WARNING: ADVERTORIAL (My version of it)

It is rare that I get a chance to showcase creative work that I’ve delivered for a client. As I’m not a musician or sound designer all my work is done in the shadows so I wanted to share this recent work for the new Hudl 2 tablet from Tesco. The device has been getting a lot of rave reviews since it launched a couple of days ago and a lot of them have focused on the physical design, which is impressive. What people have not yet talked about is the audio experience of the new Hudl.

The Tesco Connected Devices team were very thorough in their approach to creating the Hudl experience and left no stone unturned in making sure everything communicated the values of brand and the purpose of the device. A key part to this communication are the sounds that the device makes as it does its thing. Not happy with the stock Android sounds they instead chose to create a unique sound world for the Hudl so that what the user hears matches what they see.

I was lucky enough to work closely with the device development team to create the sound of the Hudl. They embraced the whole process of translating the brand and user experience into sound and with the composition and sound design talents of Paul Sumpter of The Futz Butler we made the Hudl brand sing (and beep). The best thing about it was that rather than explore the safe and the average we were given the freedom to really experiment, you can read more about Paul’s work here and watch a video of him smashing things up in a calm and non-aggressive way.

A lot of the sonic branding created today is bland and generic because while its starting point is one of exploration the end point is usually one of mediation. For the Hudl sonic branding the aim was to simply communicate the brand and with that in mind we were allowed to focus on creativity and values rather than compromise.

I’m really proud of the work and I want to give huge thanks to the Joe and Danny from the Hudl team for their commitment to eating stinky lunches in the studio and allowing us to experiment, Martin Lawless for his amazing insight into the Hudl brand and reflections on the Hacienda days and Paul Sumpter for his superb creative work and comfy packing crates.

The best way of checking out our work is of course to go and buy one and if you want to learn more about how we created the sound of the Hudl or want to know more about sonic branding feel free to contact me.


Happy beats may turn you Blu

How do you create content around vaping?

Its a little bit of challenge, despite the claims that you are not selling smoking you really kind of are and then you are into a whole fun world of regulation and social stigma. So interestingly e-cig brand Blu has decided to create a documentary series about the evolution of the UK DJ scene. What has this got to do with puffing on a cloud making battery? Well not that much but then might be some sense to this seeming madness. Firstly, it is definitely targeting a more mature audience, even I am not old enough to remember some of the things they are talking about so nobody can say they are going after the teenage market. Then there is a kind sub-plot about changing tech, you know smoking to vaping tenuously links into vinyl to digital, maybe it is a little bit of a post-rationalising stretch. Finally, the target audience is probably spot on, old clubbers looking to clean up their lives while clinging on to the pleasures of their youth.

I have no idea if this is going to work but hats off to Blu for trying something a little different in the vape market. It probably didn’t cost a fortune, it is nicely put together and hopefully it will be successful for them as it is good to see a bit of experimenting. Looking forward to moving on to the next episode.

Apple chooses Cook over Kermit to explain how to be Green

Whether you love or loathe Apple one thing you have to say about them is they are consistent. Their products have an incredibly strong design language and so does their brand communications, visually at least. When Apple released their new brand video focused on their green credentials the most interesting thing for me was not the content but the person delivering it. Welcome stage left, Tim Cook the lord and master of Cupertino. The video itself could easily be replaced by this piece of creative genius from Dissolve but Mr Cook’s first foray into the world of voiceovers made me wonder: What does Apple sound like?

Apple’s visual style for brand and product films has always been talking heads intercut with people using the product or products floating around in white space. This has meant that we are visually introduced to the voices and told who they are via captions featuring names and job titles. There have been a few celebrity voiceovers for TV ads but on the whole they like us to focus on the product, it is a very clean and efficient approach, more Apple branding.

This film is not about a new product, it is all about brand and most importantly the values that form it. So it makes sense to wheel out the big gun for this one and have the very man who is ultimately responsible for everything that Apple stands for and creates to be delivering the message.

From a brand perspective using Cook as a voiceover is the right thing to have done. It is no Oscar winning performance but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that rather than paying some professional voiceover to add enforced brand values to the message, Apple are using their chief brand guardian to deliver a significant message on Earth Day. Using internally sourced voiceovers isn’t always the right route, it depends on the message. The key to success is finding the message where personal delivery is the most powerful option and adds value to every word.

It could be argued that nobody recognises Cook’s voice so where is the value in using it. By the looks of all the coverage today around the launch of this film the PR department are working overtime to let us know that it is Apple’s leader that is preaching the green message and this should go someway to building the narrative.

Most significant of all, Cook has achieved something that Jobs never did. Jobs only ever did one voiceover but then refused to allow it to be used, somehow it made its way onto YouTube. He’s actually pretty good and maybe he should have considered a career doing credit card and short-term loan ads rather than making us all slaves to the iPhone.