The headphone market is booming. Brands like Skullcandy, Monster DNA, and of course Beats have put as much emphasis on style as sound substance (some would argue more than necessary) and its changed how this entire product category is marketed. It’s not just a sound delivery tool, it’s a fashion accessory.
Sennheiser is known more for its sound than marketing style, but the brand and agency McKinney have launched a new campaign aimed at millennials that uses a quirky, creepy German dude to put the emphasis on sound over styling. Meet the Urbanite.
The Urbanite headphones are Sennheiser’s entry into the visually and bass-driven (they “have the sound signature–better, not louder bass–millennials are asking for,” according to the agency) headphone market. Typically the brand’s marketing strategy has been to tout functionality over fashion. “For this campaign, we put our care for the human being–and his or her ears–at the top of the page and communicated less about the product features,” says Sennheiser’s head of strategic marketing Uwe Greunke.
McKinney chief creative officer Jonathan Cude knew it wasn’t a good idea to try play on the same field as Beats–witness their recent Serena Williams spot–but instead go for something completely different. “The campaign is centered around one idea: We’re not obsessed with image. We’re obsessed with sound,” says Cude. “The Urbanite is a character whose love for ears is unparalleled. As a challenger brand, Let Your Ears Be Loved allows the brand to cut through a category striving to ‘out-cool’ one another with a unique, quirky personality, and an approach Beats would never embrace.”
Whatever your reservations may be over a guy dressed up as a pair of headphones, it’s been scientifically proven that people love over-the-top German accents. Now everybody sing, “Do your ears hang low…”JB