Eschewing cliches of elderly figures trying to hear their grandchildren, One Plus One and Augusto have instead used two iconic New Zealand rockers to produce content marketing cinematography that demonstrates smart hearing aids.
The product is an iphone-capable hearing aid by international hearing aid manufacturer GN Resound, which was launched to the New Zealand and Australian market in March. In the clips which are displayed on the GN ReSound website, Mike Chunn of Split Enz/Citizen band and Todd Hunter of the rock band Dragon play music together and discuss their experiences with hearing loss from years in the music industry, and how their lives had changed after getting the hearing aids. Non-subtitled versions of the clips were also created.
Stephanie Lowe, One Plus One PR director, says GN ReSound needed a Trans-Tasman communications strategy to push sales and create a halo effect for subsequent GN ReSound technology launches.
“We put together the comms plan to launch to both markets, and came up with the idea to bring in two ambassadors. We looked into the age group and found research saying musicians had a high proportion of people with affected hearing from listening to loud music … there will be a generation of rockers experiencing hearing loss now, as they come into their 60s and 70s, since there wasn’t any information on hearing protection when they first started jamming out,” she says.
Hunter and Chunn were brought on board as ambassadors after an exhaustive search. Lowe says Chunn was a mutual contact. “We got Mike Chunn to get a hearing test and asked him if he would be keen to get involved. He leapt at the chance, as he thinks it’s an important issue to bring to the fore.”
One Plus One and GN ReSound commissioned Augusto to produce the content which was filmed at Neil Finn's Roundhead Studios.
Lowe says that in coming forward about using hearing aids, there’s still a bit of a stigma, so it was necessary to find the right person who’d have no issues talking about it publicly for the campaign. “Mike put it nicely in the clip – he talks about glasses, how you wouldn’t resist wearing them if you needed them. Hearing aids in general have connotations of old and dowdy, large and beige. Mike has been very proactive on Facebook, sparking the conversation around getting yourself checked.”
Kelly Bennett, managing director of One Plus One, says in a release, “Todd Hunter and Mike Chunn were the perfect guys to help bring this content to life. Working with the talented team at Augusto has also meant that the content is not only informative, but authentic and engaging.”
And Leon Kirkbeck, managing director of Augusto, says, "We're really chuffed with how this has turned out, thanks in no small part to the natural talents and easy rapport of Mike Chunn and Todd Hunter, coupled with the deft creative treatment applied by executive creative director Ollie Maisey and the rest of the Augusto crew."
As part of the PR campaign, rather than using paid advertising, both Chunn and Hunter have appeared across Australian and New Zealand media. Events for clinicians and audiologists were staged throughout Australia and Auckland, including during Hearing Awareness Week. A media outreach programme apparently resulted in nearly 100 pieces of news coverage, including TV spots such as Yahoo! 7, TVNZ’s Breakfast Show and TV3’s Firstline.
Lowe says sales in the region have been going well – although more of the not-so-high-end version has sold than the high-end version of the hearing aid.
The clips are now being looked to as an example for similar GN ReSound projects globally.
“We used high-profile iconic New Zealand musicians, whereas in other markets, they used end-user type talent, normal everyday people. We found using iconic musicians helped bring our story to life,” says Lowe.
An example of the “normal everyday people” used in the US GN ReSound market is here:
Targeting a campaign to an older group that is savvy and active rather than sitting through retirement does seem to be a good idea.
Visual culture is changing and moving away from the cliches, says Micha Schwing, director of creative planning for Getty Images, recently. She says New Zealand consumers will reward marketers for embracing diversity in their advertising images, and will punish them if they insist on focusing on stereotypical images of people in their campaigns.
"I am personally very disappointed about how slow the change is in terms of how seniors are portrayed in marketing. The statistics have been there for two decades, showing that people are going to live longer and they are going to be healthy longer...There’s too much life to be lived to lie around."
Client – GN ReSound
Allister Daly, General Manager - New Zealand and Australia
Libby Barhoumeh, Marketing Manager – New Zealand and Australia
PR Agency – One Plus One Communications
Kelly Bennett, Managing Director
Stephanie Lowe, PR Director
Alex Harman, PR Consultant
Production Company - Augusto
Oliver Maisey - Creative Director
Cass Avery & Oliver Maisey - Co-Directors
Monique Nielsen - Producer
Mariano Segedin - Editor
Bevan Crothers – Director of Photography
Glenn Manchester - Camera Assist:
Siobhain Hayes - Account Manager
Lara Marshall - Production Assistant
Gabriel Muller - Sound