ASMR: Adverts brands want you to fall asleep to

Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, more catchily known as ASMR, has recently whispered its way into the limelight. For years ASMRtists have been creating YouTube videos for fans of the soothing phenomenon, but it is not until the last couple of years that it has found itself in the mainstream.

Although not for everyone, ASMR consists of softly spoken voices and a whole host of calming sounds, such as hair brushing and spray bottles. There are those who find the videos unsettling, but for many people who suffer with anxiety or sleeplessness, ASMR can provide some relief.

Over the past couple of years, the growing popularity of ASMR has been noticed by brands including National Rail and Fuze Tea. W Magazine have gone so far as to create an ASMR series, with 32 star-studded videos.

Many have used it seriously, for example, IKEA with its ‘Oddly IKEA’ video, advertising its range of bedroom items to stressed-out students. The video has received over 2.5 million views since 2017, with people still regularly commenting, suggesting that ASMR advertising has the potential to last the test of time.

The majority of ASMR videos tend to be over 20 minutes long, and so in a world where most people are unwilling to watch a 10 second advert before a YouTube video, ASMR offers an excellent opportunity to create 20+ minute adverts that people enjoy watching.

Fuze Tea went a step further, partnering with popular ASMRtist ‘WhispersRed’ and opening a pop-up sensory experience. With a host of ‘trigger’ rooms to please all the senses, this idea certainly took experiential advertising to the next level.

Other brands have had some fun with the trend. Singer Lewis Capaldi’s dabble in ASMR for LADBible and Three UK is certainly unconventional and consistently NSFW – watch at your own risk. This video is part of the two companies’ ‘Relaxing Stuff’ project, a website created purely for bizarre ASMR videos. You can even watch Anne Hegarty from The Chase whispering Anne Hegarty fan fiction if you feel so inclined.

It is unusual for trends to successfully continue once brands have had their fill, however, ASMR does not seem to be going anywhere. If anything, it appears to be growing in popularity, with these adverts introducing people to a whole new world of relaxation.

Unknown, yet well-known, the ASMR trend has perhaps done more for ASMR itself, rather than the brands that have jumped on the bandwagon. However, the adverts created could maintain their popularity amongst the ASMR community for many years to come, making them a clever, long-term investment.

Alia Al-Doori