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In May, audio equipment company Bose launched the Noise-O-Meter: a campaign offering discounts on the brand’s newest noise-canceling headphones based on how loud a consumer’s home office was. Customers in the UAE could check the ambient noise level in their home via the Noise-O-Meter app; the higher the decibel level the higher the discount offered (for example, a 92 decibel reading gave a 13% discount). Coupons were automatically sent to anyone who registered the noise levels in their home.

Believe it or not, we happen to know a sound expert (ok, full disclosure: he’s the father of TrendWatching writer Lisa Feierstein). Alan Feierstein is an acoustic and soundproofing consultant based in NYC, one of the noisiest places on Earth, so we thought we’d get his perspective on Bose’s campaign. 

First, he couldn’t resist diving into the technicalities. According to Al, the video’s inclusion of a crying baby is misleading. “If you’ve got a screaming baby, and you want to use Bose headphones to block out that noise...forget it! Babies produce high-frequency sounds, which Bose’s noise-cancelling tech is notoriously bad at reducing; it’s much better for filtering out low-frequency sounds. So if you’ve got a baby crying, your best bet is a set of earplugs, a good interior window, a masking noise machine, or headphones that are tighter than Bose’s.” Good to know!

But we’ve digressed enough. From a trend perspective, the Noise-O-Meter is a nail-on-the-head example of SYMPATHETIC PRICING, wherein brands use discounts creatively to relieve pain points or show support. Another recent example of this? Headspace acknowledged the mental toll of unemployment by making its service free for furloughed workers. Bose’s campaign really is also sympathetic, considering the impact noise issues have on wellbeing, especially during a pandemic. Al says things are getting worse: “With people at home all the time, noise from neighbors during the day – which they’d normally miss while they’re at the office – has become intolerable. Not to mention people having to contend with kids that are stuck indoors and bouncing off the walls, literally.” 

Besides the symptoms of COVID-19, think about how else your customers’ health is being affected by the epidemic, even by factors you may have never considered before (like noise). Could your organization address them? And while you’re at it, don’t dismiss the power of SYMPATHETIC PRICING. Can you offer a break where it really counts during a downturn: consumers’ wallets?  

Stay healthy,

The TrendWatching content team

 

P.S. If you’re interested in learning more about noise problems or soundproofing, check out Al’s website.