Undoubtedly one of the most surprising marketing trends of 2019:
Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, ASMR for short. ASMR describes the
tingling, tingling skin sensation – a bit like goose bumps – that is a
reaction to certain audio and visual effects. Think, for example, of images
of slow and monotonous actions such as eating, fine painting (think: Bob
Ross) or brushing hair, with accompanying smacking, crackling or tapping,
and often accompanied by commentary on whispers.
The term ASMR was introduced in 2010, around the time ASMR took flight
on YouTube. Over the past decade, the channel has been flooded with videos
in which self-proclaimed ‘ASMRtists’ such as SAS ASMR (7.84 million
subscribers), Gentle Whispering (1.76 million subscribers) and Heather
Feather (500,000 subscribers) spend minutes cutting hairs into a
microphone, tapping phone covers or brushing their hands with make-up
brushes. A video by SAS ASMR, in which the YouTube YouTube is tantalizingly
slow to bite into pieces of sticky honeycombs for twelve minutes, is the
most watched ASMR clip on YouTube, with over 40 million views.
What makes ASMR so incredibly popular? Earlier this year, FashionUnited
spoke to trend analyst Pernille Kok-Jensen about the love for ASMR that
seems to cherish millennials and Gen Z, born between 1980 and 2010.
Kok-Jensen believes that these generations suffer from an abundance of
visual information. ASMR is relaxing for them because of its quiet pace and
because it also appeals to other senses: the hearing and, indirectly, the
sense of touch. Because of its great appeal to young people, Kok-Jensen
predicts that ASMR will increasingly appear in marketing campaigns in the
Several international companies have already embraced the phenomenon.
Famous is Ikea’s ASMR campaign ‘Oddly Ikea’, in which a woman’s hand
touches all the elements of an Ikea student room for twenty-five minutes.
In the background, a soft voice describes the structure of the linen sheets
and the soothing effects that a modular wardrobe can have. In addition to
food and interior design, clothing is also ideal for creating ASMR
campaigns. In 2014, Cos made the ASMR video “The Sound of Cos”, in which
two men in a studio provide Cos garments with sounds. The storage of a
collar is imitated with the unfolding of umbrellas, the closing of
press-studs with the snapping of bubble plastic.
Also in 2019, several major brands produced high-profile ASMR campaigns.
FashionUnited selected the five most exciting examples.
February 2019: Givenchy
For the spring campaign of 2019 angled luxury fashion house Givenchy
photographer Steven Meisel inside. Under the direction of head designer
Clare Waight Keller, he created the campaign I Am Your Mirror, in which
Givenchy models slowly eat juicy apples,
Squeeze grapes under their pointed heels, slide metal chains through
their hands and rub sensually on their leather Givenchy accessories. The
campaign video caught on, with Givenchy launched a competition in April for
new ASMR talent to work with Givenchy in the future.
March 2019: Liam Hodges
Perhaps the most bizarre ASMR campaign comes from men’s clothing brand
Liam Hodges. In the spring of 2019, this brand presented a capsule
collection consisting of a pair of trousers, shirt and T-shirt, each
printed with a large red lobster and the text ‘Come & Enjoy!’. So said, so
done: the campaign video shows a man, dressed in Liam Hodges’ shirt,
crunching and smacking for a good minute, feasting on a yolk of a
July 2019: Gucci
In July this year, Gucci presented the second edition of the #24HourAce
campaign, for which the brand invites several artists to create audiovisual
work around the Ace tennis sneaker, which is then published on the brand’s
social media pages within 24 hours. This year’s theme of #24HourAce was
ASMR. The result are movies of Ace sneakers attached to ticking metronomes,
a ‘wet unboxing video’, lucid 3D animations of Ace sneakers being sliced
and a movie in which an Ace sneaker with the nose is pushed into a
September 2019: Coach
American leather goods brand Coach tackled the classic: it presented the
new bag line Coach Originals this autumn with a series of short Instagram
films in which leather is cut out by hand, hands are gently stroked over a
Coach bag, a bag is immersed in a tub of suds or a twist closure is gently
clicked over. The caption invites the viewer to experience the bags
multisensory: “See it, feel it, hear it: authentic American leather
November 2019: Weather Gucci
Not quite fashionable, though, Gucci. Since 2018, the brand has its own
‘osteria’ in the centre of Florence that serves hamburgers as well as chic
pastas. The citizens of the restaurant were featured on the Gucci instagram
page in November with a series of videos in which different people, whether
or not dressed in colourful Gucci outfits, bite into a Gucci burger.
“Crackle. Bites. Slurp. Smack. Enjoy”, is written in the caption.
This article was originally published on FashionUnited.NL, translated and edited by Kelly Press.
Enjoy!” in which a model in Liam Hodges clothing devours a lobster, via