Tagged: sonicbrand

Happiness gets a little intense with Coke

When it comes to audio branding there isn’t much that Coke has not excelled at. From its multicultural anthem about buying the world some fizzy pop through its omnipotent open happiness, the vegetable flavoured soda pop has long understood the power of music to sell. So with a new marketing strategy doing the rounds its no surprise that they are dancing to a new tune.

I have no idea what the brief was for this but what they have created feels a little miserable for a brand known for preaching happiness. Rather than worry about whether images of protest communicate joy and togetherness, lets focus on the music. Well my response there is pretty much the same. I’m sure someone will do some nice piece of research that says the new aggressively happy Coke has changed perceptions, reached out to the millennials and made Coke the drink of the bearded wonders but it just doesn’t feel right. Coke is generic and that is not a bad thing, so this attempt to create communications that exclude rather than embrace audiences feels a bit wrong.

I guess you have to admire the bravery but being brave doesn’t make you right.

While we wait for the outcome here’s something that is happy.

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.


Would you like Gaga with your fries? McDonalds doing some music stuff

McDonalds logoMcDonalds are doing some more music stuff. That’s about all we know at this time apart from it has something to do with their big digital push. In probably one of the most lacking bits of reporting for some time various marketing blogs are reporting that McDonalds are doing some music stuff and far be it from me to not join in the party. There is not really very much detail on what is going to be on offer. 

In the not so distant past McDonalds did some work with Music Dealers around the Winter Olympics and then there was that time on band camp… I’m really sorry but all I can tell you at this time is that there is a big digital push that will bring together loyalty, mobiles and music. McDonalds certainly knows the power of music so I would expect something significant to be in the offing. 

Here is how The Drum and Marketing Week are reporting it. 

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.

Kia discovers sonic branding with the help of Eric Serra

KIAI think in the spirit of journalistic integrity I will own up to the fact that I like the work of Eric Serra so when I heard he was doing Kia’s “sonic branding”, apparently that is what they have called it, I was a little scared. Either I’ll be forced to throw the towel in and accept that Mr Serra will now dominate the world of “sonic branding”, maybe I should adopt this catchy term, or I’ll cry into a bucket as one of my favourite composers sullies the name of “sonic branding”.

As with all “sonic branding”, I’m really liking that name, the key to success is in the brief. They seemed to be on the right track by calling the project “The Art of Surprise”, an interesting angle for a car brand. But then something emerged that made me a little sad. For the last month I’ve been working on some “sonic branding”, I’m now really sold on that name, for a client and I know how tempting it can be to stick meaningless words into brief that help gain sign off a little quicker. It is crucial to resist this urge and instead look for the true values of the brand, the ones that really make it different, make it a surprise. So when I saw the word “distinctive” in the core elements it did make me wonder how desperate they were to get the brief signed off. Who sits around in a brainstorming meeting and says “You know what we stand for. We stand for being completely indistinguishable from the next brand”. Distinctive as a brand value is a given, there is no need to have it on the list. Right back to the “sonic branding”, I think I may name my next pet that.

Anyhow they have created a track called the “Advent of Kians” which is apparently their first brand identity song. It’s meant to be pretty “ear-catchy”, their term not mine.

I’ll let you decide whether Kia and Eric Serra have nailed this. All I will say is that I’m not very surprised but hats off to them for investing a lot of cash and time into this thing they call “sonic branding”. The key thing now will be how they use their new “sonic branding”, implementation will determine whether we are all humming the “Advent of Kians” while we wash our Kias. Check it out on their website, watch the wonderfully generic mood video and then download the Irish version of the track as a ringtone. Here is a link to the webpage.

You can read the article about it from USA Today here.