The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Loud On The Outside …
June 4, 2015, 6:25 am
Filed under: Headphones

So recently I saw the above ad for AKG headphones.

I’m sure they’re very nice, but what the hell is with that massive branding on the outside?

It’s not hard to tell they’re trying to mimic BEATS – a brand that basically reinvigorated the headphone industry – except they’ve mistaken branding for shouting.

Part of BEATS genius is their unquestionable connection to recording artists.

Sure, a lot of it is because one of the founders of the company is a recording artist while the other is a huge record label owner, but it’s still genius.

Now I appreciate AKG have a long connection to sound and studio equipment, but to the ears of the music fan [as opposed to the sound quality seeker], that’s not a necessarily meaningful relationship.

It could be … but they chose not to go that way and instead took the ’short-cut’ and copied rather than defined themselves.

Will it work?

Maybe … but you can be sure as hell they won’t be as successful as the brand who moved headphones from only focusing on sound to moving them into being a part of [music] culture.

As I wrote about GoPro a while back, being part of the culture [and then moving, shaping and provoking it] is much better than simply focusing on the category – because it allows you to go and grow in different ways and places – but to achieve that takes a lot more than simply making some ads and that’s why I think AKG are following the wrong strategy because they not already late to the party, it just feels massively inauthentic … regardless how big they have made their font or how many colours they’ve created for their headphones.

And to prove they’re not genuine about it, I will point you to their line, Awake Your Inspiration.

Look, I get it … music changes your mood and can take you to new [emotional] places.

But let’s be honest, that is hardly a new strategy is it.

Apple did it years ago with their wonderful iPod silhouette ads … but more than that, it fails to represent anything more than a generic attitude towards music, which means that AKG are clutching at straws rather than being in tune with the rhythm of culture.

[Did you see what I did there? Yes, it was rubbish wasn’t it]

It’s kind of sad to see brands like AKG and – as I wrote a while back – B&O seemingly losing sight of who they are and desperately following whatever they think is popular … but on the bright side, they’re not as lost as ‘Parrot’, who claim they have made the World’s most advanced headphone and then proceed to ignore telling you any reason why they are such big-talkers and instead, shoved a picture of Conchita Wurst on the page.

That’s right … Conchita, a person so famous they had to put her name on the ad in case no one knew who she was and even if they did, they would probably say, “why would I take music or sound advice from someone who won the Eurovision song contest?”.

Which is a good point.

Seriously, this category is full of sheep with no bloody ambition or vision of their own which is why regardless what you think of Beats – and there’s definitely a bunch of stuff that is open to debate/ridicule – you have to admire their ability to own, shape and change a market in next to no time.

Full disclosure, I have worked with them so I am a bit biased – especially as my beloved and much missed Jason works there, but I still regard what they did as incredible even though I have a feeling once Apple take full control, it’s all going to be a very different company to the one they started.

Hey, maybe I’ve just invented a new category of advertising, the #blogvertorial … except we all know it’s been going on for years and I’m more likely to be paid by brands to NOT celebrate them than to celebrate them. Bugger.


Parrot make good headphones. Certainly better than their advertising, which I agree is awful. As for Beats. Well I wish I could hear Baz’s honest point of view on his new, red headed, adopted child, but my perspective is they were built on a brilliant celebrity endorsement platform because the actual product is a sound quality shambles.

Comment by George

beats sound as good as they look. and they look fucking tragic.

Comment by andy@cynic

how the fuck do you know parrot make good headphones? i get it if youre comparing them to beats because a fart in a box sounds better but since when did you become some pretend fucking audiophile?

Comment by andy@cynic

Funnily enough, I read a review about Parrot headphones recently and found out that when you own them, you can download an app that opens up a whole range of other functions. Unsurprisingly, this changed my opinion of them in an instant.

Comment by Rob

By the way, the title of this post is excellent. Both Beats and AKG are louder on the outside than on the ear.

Comment by George

I ripped that title off a mate of mine when he was describing Beats and explaining to me why the Apple deal made no sense to him.

But it seemed much more appropriate to be used with those AKG monstrosities.

Comment by Rob

This is what happens when marketing folk put the idea of brand ahead of the idea of meeting customer needs.

It’s out of control – I even heard the BBC today refer to the “twelve top charity brands” when they were basically listing the twelve top charities.

Comment by John

who was #1?

Comment by andy@cynic

Beats me.

Comment by John

Oh dear John.

Comment by Rob

I fucking hate beats.
I hate that parrot ad.
I hate headphones have become “a statement”.
I had a bad day today.

Comment by DH

you talk a fuck load more sense when youre pissed off.

Comment by andy@cynic

So I shouldn’t buy you a pair for your birthday then Dave? Don’t worry, I won’t be. Consider it my gift to you.

Comment by Rob

Good. Best thing you’ve ever not done for me.

Comment by DH

The parrot ad isn’t very good.

Comment by Bazza

Top insight.

Comment by John

Better than your 3 billion dollar mistake. Why Baz. Why?

Comment by DH

I guessed, didn’t I Baz? Admit I’m right. Just admit it. It is a smart move. Certainly smarter than all the suggestions put forward when the deal was first announced.

Comment by George

Because it’s a big tax write off?

Comment by DH

I know too. It’s devious strategy at it’s best. If it’s true. Guess time will tell.

Comment by Rob

If you are trying to make me wildly jealous you’ve forgotten an important point. I don’t give a shit about beats or apple.

Comment by DH

best fucking comment of the day. never knew you had it in you dh. good work fella.

Comment by andy@cynic

When did anyone start giving a shit what Baz thinks?

Comment by Billy Whizz

It’s quite amusing that it has taken someone almost 8 hours to respond to your bitch on Baz … and I only did it to point out this fact. Ha.

Comment by Rob

[…] I know it’s from a past time, but when I compare it to many of the print ads – actually, scrap that, ads in general – that get put out today, I can’t help but […]

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