Topic 4: Headphones and hearing loss

 1. Summary

Brand identity
Our group is using a pair of WESC headphones for our photos. WESC is short for We Are the Superlative Conspiracy and is a Stockholm-based company mainly focusing on clothes. They get inspiration from snowboard and skateboard culture and are focusing on reaching a younger audience with the style of the headphones being very hip and in bright, vibrant colors. WESC has a NYC store and teamed up with hip hop music producer Dante Ross to make a set of premium headphones, as well as teaming up with NYC skate shop owner Amy Gunther for a special pair of WESC headphones that she was featured in the ads for. (Ad 1, Ad 2.) The copy for these ads read:

WESC – © WeAretheSuperlativeConspiracy
Even a good listener is usually thinking of something else, but this time they won’t. Through the core of science and the biggest bag of love WeSC brings the freshest headphones ever. All designed to fit the individual as much as the lifestyle. Feel at home grooving with us. Your ears have never looked sexier. Weactivists – Ray Barbee, Chris Pastras & Amy Gunther

Public service campaign
The ads were part of a campaign sponsored by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in 2013. The ads said “Hear today. Gone tomorrow”, where the first part shows a close-up photo of an ear with earplugs, and the next photo is another close-up showing an ear where the earphones are switched out with a hearing aid. The tagline of the campaign is “Turn down your music before you can’t hear it anymore.” It’s a powerful message, and the target audience for this ad should in my opinion be teenagers and young adults, from 13-23, to establish good listening habits early. The campaign advised people to not listen to music over 85 decibel as it can damage your hearing over the long run. The article gives advice as to what signs to look for that would be an indication that your hearing is getting worse (you have to turn up the sound on the TV, you can’t follow a conversation etc), and says that if you want to keep listening to music in the future, you should turn down the music now.

2. Communication Problem
Headphone ad: Inspired by the copy from their ads, I think the ads should communicate how these headphones are so great, you won’t be thinking about anything else. You’ll zone into the music. It’s also important to communicate how fresh and cool they’ll make you look.

Public service campaign: The ad should clearly communicate that one of the people in the ad is hard of hearing, the sad/frustrating emotions connected to hearing loss, and how the person is now excluded from conversations and from enjoying music the same way as before. It should communicate this in a powerful way that would inspire the target audience to change their headphone habits.

3. Image Ideas
Headphone ad – It should show someone who is completely absorbed in the music, smiling, perhaps dancing. Or it could be someone laying on the ground listening to music with a smile on their face, maybe their eyes closed, totally zoned into the music. The lighting should be bright and cheerful and wardrobe should be young and cool but not too vibrant since the headphones should stand out.

Public service campaign – One idea could be for two people to be talking to each other, where the hard of hearing person has to lean in to hear what the other person is saying. The hard of hearing person could be in the dark while the hearing person is in the light. It could also be a photo of just the person who can’t hear, lighted in a dark way, showing the person as sad and frustrated about the loss of hearing.

4. Results
I think the results for the headphone ad came out pretty successful and in terms with the image ideas I had of a person dancing while getting lost in the music – something that connects to the copy of the WESC headphone ads.

For the hearing loss ad, we could have tried more dramatic lighting and we weren’t successful in putting the person with hearing loss in darker lighting/in the shadow, but I think the idea of the headphones being unplugged works well, although I think the plug should have been more in focus and sharper.

Album with 20+ photos 
Hearing loss ad
Headphones ad

1 thought on “Topic 4: Headphones and hearing loss

  1. rmichals

    You describe the headphones brand clearly and your image works well to convey both the pleasure of listening to the headphones and the style boost that they give.

    The hearing loss psa is a tougher problem. Your idea for a solution was a good one: to show someone excluded from the conversation. This could have been tremendously enhanced by the lighting. Separate spots on the two people on the sides probably overhead on booms would have left Valerie in the middle in the dark. Darkness have been a wonderful visual metaphor for deafness and an interesting a mix up of the senses.

    In the image you did make, the headphones plug is clearly the culprit of whatever is wrong. It is in the center of everything.

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