Both Beats and Bose are two leading brands of premium headphones. Beats’ “Hear What You Want” campaign is geared toward the the very people that they display in their ads – stylish individuals who are more fashion forward. Much like the name of the campaign, Beats promotes the message that you will hear only what you want to hear – your music, of course – when you are wearing their headphones. As for Bose’s Noise Canceling headphones, they are promoting that their headphones will drown out all of the excess sounds and noise around you. Judging from their photography, Bose is targeting their products towards suburban, middle classed families.
The photographic styles for each brand significantly differs due to their target audiences. Beats portrays a higher quality, high end product which is why each of their models look so focused, concentrated, clean cut, and ultimately like a boss. Beats’ headphones are not high quality like they are made out to be, so it makes sense that their ads look high quality. Bose’s ads on the other hand are conceptual unlike those of Beats. Volume is being personified through dogs, jack hammering construction workers, and badly behaved children. Each one of these things is noisy all on their own so to use them to represent a volume bar is genius. As the volume bar gets louder and louder, each person/dog reacting to the sound also gets louder and noisier.
The difference in lighting and contrast is also very evident. The Beats ads are higher contrast, well lit, much like fashion ads. The ads for Bose are more muted, mono toned, and even a bit dreary. None of the Bose ads display their product, while, two of the Beats ads do.
You make a good point when you suggest that the Beats campaign is essentially a fashion ad. Bose wants to position itself as far from fashion as possible, to the point of being a bit “dreary” as you say.