Content Marketing

ASMR marketing: what is it and how are big brands using it?6 min read

March 28, 2019 4 min read


ASMR marketing: what is it and how are big brands using it?6 min read

Reading Time: 4 minutes

ASMR stands for “autonomous sensory meridian response.”

This experience is characterized by a pleasurable tingling sensation that starts from the scalp and moves toward the neck and spine.

In fact, a study found that  75 percent of participants felt a pleasurable tingling sensation when they heard people whispering. Some 64 percent felt the same sensation when they heard “crisp or crinkling sounds,” such as fingernails tapping on a metallic table.

Influencers and brands have used ASMR to create videos that trigger stimuli from their viewers. YouTube reported that relaxation videos—including ASMR—have increased by 70 percent.

And they’ve been trending, too.

A video of an influencer making kissing and mouth sounds got 16 million views. Another video featuring a woman eating corndogs coated in cheesy mozzarella got 800,000 views in the space of 24 hours.

If you haven’t heard of ASMR till now, it’s time to join the club. Plenty of brands have created their own ASMR ads to attract customers. Here are some examples:

1. IKEA: Oddly IKEA Campaign

How do you encourage millennials to buy duvet covers and cushion covers? A product that has been around for years doesn’t seem that interesting.

Most brands collaborate with ASMR influencers, but IKEA did extensive research to create their own videos.

This video features a woman running her hands over the sheets, smoothing them out or lightly scratching the surface. As viewers listen, they can hear soft and calming sounds that prove how relaxing it is to lie on their duvets and cushions.

Since duvets and cushions are used for relaxation, they triggered the same sensation in their ad.

“A series like this is very much in keeping with the Ikea character,” said Ogilvy’s creative director Della Mathew and Ikea external communications specialist Kerri Homsher in an email to Adweek. “Plus, the format of ASMR videos allows you to deliver product benefits in a pleasant, calming way, something a TV spot or print ad doesn’t always succeed at. We hope this demonstrates to everyone who watches that Ikea has solutions that make your homework better. But really, we hope it does what it’s supposed to do: help everyone who watches it relax a little.”

2. Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold Super Bowl 2019

The Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold Super Bowl 2019 campaign is a compelling example of ASMR in action. The ad features actress Zoe Kravitz, daughter of Lisa Bonet and Lenny Kravitz.

In the video, Zoe lets viewers experience the feeling of drinking a bottle of Michelob beer. She clinks the bottle, swirls it atop the table and twists the cap.

It’s a simple act that feels much more interesting with the use of autonomous sensory techniques. Viewers can hear and feel exactly what it’s like to pour a glass of beer and wait for the frothy foam to form.

3. Applebee’s Grill Sounds

Who knew that the grill sounds of steak might be the break you need after a hectic day at work? If you don’t believe us, check out Applebee’s Grill Sounds video.  

It’s not as flashy as cooking shows like MasterChef and there’s no epic drama or cinematography. Instead, meat lovers are tempted through the imagery and sounds of the grill.

We can’t blame you if you visit the restaurant after the hour-long video!

4. Lush Cosmetics

Lush Cosmetics collaborated with influencer ASMR Darling—Taylor Darling—to create an ad about their super soothing lavender-infused products.

Lush Cosmetics’ popular products help customers get a good night’s sleep.

We might never pay attention to the sounds of our skincare routine, but the video lets us recall the experience through the sounds of using their products. The soothing sensation of whispered product information, nails tapping at bath balls and the fizz of water—make the skincare routine come to life.

The video has had 1.5 million views on Youtube alone, which is pretty good considering that it used minimal cinematography and almost no storyline.

5. Lynx Shower & Shave Foam

How do you teach men to shave different parts of their body? Lynx uploaded ASMR tutorial videos about shaving legs, chests, and scrotums.

You heard that right, they uploaded an ad about shaving balls.

In the 4-minute video, a naked man whispers instructions in the shower. Since viewers don’t want to see the real thing, he lathered a coconut with shaving cream to imitate the sound of shaving.

The video is amusing, but there are also useful tips for men doing it for the first time.

Gregg Clampffer, creative director at 72andSunny Amsterdam, said in an interview with Adweek. “When it comes to masculinity, we’d rather give guys a laugh than a lecture. Which is not to say there is not a message. We are trying to positively portray a confident, somewhat normal guy who is willing to share tips on shaving different parts of his body. Not because he has a great body, but because he thinks other normal guys might enjoy the pleasure of nice shaving foam and the body smoothness that comes with it.”

And it doesn’t stop there.

Lynx also released tutorials on shaving the chest and leg area for those who want to be smooth on all parts of their body.

Any ASMR videos you’d like to share?

ASMR has skyrocketed in popularity over the last few months.

Not only can they trigger a sensory response, but they’re easy to make too. You don’t need astounding cinematography, color correction, and special training. Just have a bit of creativity plus shooting and editing skills.

Any brand can make their own ASMR videos as long as they’re selling a tangible product. Just think about how buyers will use your product, like IKEA, Lynx, and Lush. You can also take advantage of clinking and grilling sounds like Michelob and Applebee’s.

How would you use ASMR videos to promote your products? Let us know in the comments below.

Emil Kristensen is the CMO and co-founder of Sleeknote: a company that helps e-commerce brands engage their site visitors—without hurting the user experience.