Head and spine tingling audio

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Two things caught our ears this month.The first was a whispered campaign for bed linen, and the second involved being locked in a pitch-black shipping container for a séance.

The Ikea campaign was built around ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) – a pleasurable tingling in the scalp triggered by low key acoustic stimuli such as whispering or rustling. It doesn’t work for everyone, but ASMR has a large millennial following which is probably why Ikea choose to use it for this back to college campaign. Search Youtube for ‘Oddly Ikea’ to hear for yourself.

‘Séance’ at the Edinburgh Fringe, however, utilised binaural (a 3D technique which does work for everyone) to create an immersive and spooky experience that aimed to be spine tingling in the more traditional sense.

Ostensibly, the two things had nothing in common, but as experts we were quick to spot the connection – both required to deliver. This is important because listening via headphones is growing rapidly, with some platforms suggesting it accounts for between 65-80% of consumption. Interestingly, it also changes our relationship to the audio we hear. More personal and intense with no need to fight for attention, headphones allow for a raft of new and engagement opportunities.

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