Sennheiser makes noise across Canada

The headphones co pits boys against girls live and in webisodes as part of its 30-city, multimedia tour of Canada and US to raise brand awareness.

Looking to make a splash in North America, headphone maker Sennheiser is in the midst of an reality-stunt-inspired 30-city, multimedia North American tour. Targeting the male, 22- to 28-year-old demo, The Sennheiser Sound Tour features two teams of 20-somethings taking on challenges that are filmed and then placed on the Sennheiser website in the form of reality show-like webisodes. 

The teams are divided by gender, each scheduled to hit 11 cities across Canada this week, following the 19 cities covered in the US. Centred on visits to Sennheiser’s partner retail locations, the teams are challenged on the spot to execute a stunt involving the onlookers. In Vancouver, they set up a fake Olympic ‘obstacle course’ involving collateral from the tour (tents, tables, listening stations for the headphones) or the teams will host a dance-off or singing competition. The point of every public event is to not only do something zany, but to get people to try the headphones and drive awareness of the brand.

The campaign extends to Facebook – where fans can join a lively group and get a chance to win Sennheiser products – and the brand has engaged Twitter and YouTube as well. To reach its target, the brand decided to avoid traditional media to promote the events, and to instead rely on retail partners, and on digital buzz from the website, its 12,000 Facebook fans, and the Twitterati. The strategy behind the campaign was to hit three main goals: to encourage people to try the product; to involve retail partners; and to reach the target audience. The best way to do all of that, Sennheiser director of marketing Anne Joyce tells MiC, was to centre the campaign online and spread out from there. The reality show concept, she says, was the most interesting way to do that.

‘We asked ourselves ‘what would make a promotional team exciting?’ Joyce says. ‘We decided that we needed to make them celebrities. That’s when instead of hiring a PR team, it became a casting call!’ The tour and its promotion was helmed by Toronto’s Jetstar Group.