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Consumer electronics

Bang & Olufsen portrays minimalist design via contemporary characters

February 15, 2017

Beoplay's H4 Beoplay's H4


Danish consumer electronics manufacturer Bang & Olufsen is launching its latest headphone design with a campaign that personifies audio quality through personality profiles.

To debut its Beoplay H4 headphones, which promise a purity of sound, the brand is telling the stories of three individuals who live their lives #Unfiltered. For a digital audience that cannot personally experience the devices themselves through their screen, this effort allows Bang & Olufsen to communicate intangible aspects of the product design.

"By positioning the campaign with the theme 'You Unfiltered,' Bang & Olufsen sets the tone that they want to get to know their customer's true identity," said Lexy Wright, inbound marketing coordinator at Pixlee, San Francisco.

"Especially in an industry that revolves around music, customers want to feel like a part of a larger purpose, and a brand that encourages authenticity and community creates a sense of brand loyalty that will keep customers coming back for more," she said.

Ms. Wright is not affiliated with Bang & Olufsen, but agreed to comment as an industry expert. Bang & Olufsen was reached for comment.

Constant companion
Bang & Olufsen’s H4 over-the-ear headphones are a pared down design, made of "simple" materials such as leather, aluminum and stainless steel. The Bluetooth devices are also being marketed as a companion for a range of situations.

The brand's #Unfiltered campaign stars skateboarder Chase Robbins, artist Christina Angelina and multihyphenate creative Ben Lee Ritchie Handler.

Beoplay Unfiltered Christina Angelina

Christina Angelina for Beoplay's H4

These individuals are featured in separate text, photo and video stories on Beoplay’s page for its H4.

In a short video, Mr. Robbins is seen in action at a skate park as he talks about his road trips with friends, which he plans around his chosen sport. The untethered skateboarder admits to often sleeping in his car.

Ms. Angelina, the full-time artist behind Starfighter Studios, is seen spray painting murals and living an active lifestyle in southern California, whether skateboarding behind her dog or riding a motorcycle.

Mr. Handler has many careers, from his work as an archivist of the Gagosian Gallery to his art fair curation, DJing and speaking engagements. The celebrity talks about his love of community and punk rock as he is seen spinning, organizing and experiencing life in Los Angeles.

Each of the ambassadors are seen wearing the H4 headphones throughout the film. They also share the role that music plays in their lives.

Ben Lee Ritchie Handler: Unfiltered

All of the videos end with the tagline “Make beautiful music.”

Along with the featured personalities, Beoplay is giving consumers the chance to add themselves to the project. Those who want to give their perspective can share an image of their own H4 on Instagram with the hashtag #H4Unfiltered for the opportunity to be featured.

In addition to recognition from the brand, one photographer each week from March 15 will win the brand’s A1 speaker.

Capitalizing on the entry-level appeal of these headphones, Bang & Olufsen has debuted co-branded H4s with cult label Supreme.

Social sharing
Bang & Olufsen has recently looked to build a social conversation around other products.

The brand perfected the art of the humblebrag via a user-generated content activation.

Social media is intended to keep users connected to the people and things they love, but oftentimes the various platforms are used to drop hints, subtly or not, about how amazing a particular experience or activity is. For example saying, “Stupid me, how did I forget to bring sunscreen to the Bahamas,” as Bang & Olufsen suggests, is classified as a humblebrag when shared as a status update and accompanied by a shot the teal-colored sea (see story).

When marketing products that rely on senses other than sight and sound, experiential efforts can help to create interest.

LVMH-owned Champagne maker Krug has built a multi-sensory experience around its wines with a music feature for both desktop and mobile

Krug’s “Music Pairing” has recording artists select their picks for tracks to accompany six particular varieties of Champagne, much like a chef would note what food pairs best with a particular wine. Since consumers cannot taste via digital mediums, providing this aural experience will help to illuminate the differences in the range (see story).

"Extending the campaign beyond models and encouraging UGC not only establishes a sense of connectivity between the brand and the consumers, but also starts a cycle of word of mouth marketing," Ms. Wright said. "Fans love to be featured by brands that they love, and those initial social media posts serve as a platform of advocacy for a brand and their products, resulting in a win-win relationship."