This slide caught my attention last week. I’ve heard that strong emotions like fear help advertisements stick in people’s minds, but what about the feeling of relaxation?
Some apps, like Calm, are actually selling relaxation as a product. For them, relaxing advertisements make the most sense. The message is simple: subscribe to our app and you’ll receive more calming content like this. But do relaxing messages work for other companies?
I looked to see if any companies are using ASMR in their advertising. ASMR, which sounds for Auto Sensory Meridian Response, is a trend in internet content that uses relaxing sounds to make people feel a tingling, euphoric sensation. For many people, this sensation can be triggered by simple, everyday sounds. The keyword “ASMR” peaked last year, however, search volume is still around 550,000 searches per month in the United States, per SEM Rush.
My favorite ad that uses ASMR aired during the 2019 super bowl.
From reading the comments on this video, I see very mixed reactions. Some people love it, and some people think it’s very strange (presumably, those who aren’t familiar with ASMR videos.) In fact, it’s estimated that perhaps less than half of all people are even able to experience the tingling sensation that ASMR is meant to trigger.
A few other companies have made ASMR videos to take advantage of the trend, including IKEA and KFC. IKEA’s viral video campaign reported a sales increase of 4.5 percent in store and 5.1 percent online.
But is relaxation an emotion that promotes buying behavior? It may work best for luxury brands in particular. A 2011 study on the role of relaxation in consumer behavior showed that when buyers are relaxed, they bid higher on items. Because they body does not perceive any threats from its environment, they are able to think more clearly about what the products can do, imagine themselves using the products, and value them more.
In conclusion, using relaxation in marketing may not be appropriate for all brands or audiences. It can be very effective when used in the appropriate context and especially when targeted toward people who seek out relaxing content.