Julian's blog: DOOH idea

November 10th, 2007
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The Digital Out Of Home (aka public or in-store TV) industry is booming, and The Sound Agency is flattered indeed to be featured in DOOH guru Adrian Cotterill’s blog here; also I did a long interview with David Wiseman that he’s boiled down and run on his Minicom blog here. They’re running a competition with some signed copies of my book as prizes.

I believe the digital signage/DOOH industry is approaching a crossroads with a major decision to make about sound. It can either add to the noise of modern living, turning on speakers in lifts, shops and even toilets and driving even more people to take refuge in their iPods, or it can make visuals work with audio to create a carefully-crafted, pleasing, appropriate, effective environment in every space. This means creating the right background first, with ambient visuals (they don’t even have to move!) teamed with ambient audio, ideally generative. Then and only then should designers start to think about foreground sound, delivering it according to our four Golden Rules: make it optional (or at least targeted); make it appropriate; make it valuable; and test it often.

The analogy is creating a picture: you make the background first, and then you make the foreground object stand out by using contrast but always acknowledging the tones, mood, elements and movement in the background.

I hope to see and hear a world of moving wallpaper and helpful, appropriate foreground content that offers us guidance or advice just when we need it in either visual or aural form, or both, as appropriate.

The dark path, of course, leads to noise (in every sense) – a random mush of competing messages that bombard people everywhere in ever-more shrill and frantic tone. Let’s not go there!

Posted by Julian Treasure at 08:05 2 comments

Martin Lindstrom opened the field up for us all with his important and very readable book BRANDsense. Every month that goes by, my news and blog feeds are giving me more and more hits as the message spreads: brands exist in more dimensions than vision alone! We have five perfectly good senses, so why do many organisations still spend millions on how they look and nothing at all on how they sound?

Here are some recent fish my trawls have caught…

Business Week featured the rise of sound as a major consideration for business with an article on Ford upgrading its in-car warning tones here, backed up with a pleasant, if rather perfunctory, slide show on product sound here.

The subject or brand sound is cropping up in more and more blogs. Recent examples include Chief Home Officer, Ready To Spark and Personal Branding Summit. This mirrors the trend in business: more and more boards are talking about multi-sensory branding in general, and brand sound specifically.

The latest major sonic logo to launch is Mercedes: you can hear it at the end of this German ad. To me it sounds like something from The Exorcist, and I am very confused about its relationship with the traditional Mercedes brand values… other blogs like BurstLabs and Autoblog seem to agree. Maybe it’s a grower…

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