Strive Creative

December 8, 2023

The Intoxication: A Trip Down the ASMR Rabbit Hole

3 Minute Read

Until recently, we had heard of ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response), but never given it too much credence from a marketing perspective.  Since then, we’ve fallen down a rabbit hole. If you haven’t heard of it yet, or even if you have, you might not have a full understanding of what it actually is. ASMR is a clinical name given to the response some people experience from soft sounds and placid visuals; i.e. whispers, tapping, crinkles and random hand movements. In short, it’s a physical, almost euphoric, response to certain auditory and visual stimuli; it starts with a tingling on your scalp and moves down your spine. It’s like when you get chills down your back when somebody whispers in your ear. Not all of us physically experience ASMR, but many of those that don’t, still enjoy the experience of watching ASMR Videos. Even without the physical stimulus they cast a calming, mesmerizing effect over a considerable portion of the population.

Because of the joint nature of their appeal, ASMR Videos and their respective artists have exploded in popularity on YouTube and similar social outlets. The videos stem from whispering and waving hands, to playing with sponges and hair brushes, to…well, if you’d like to join us down the rabbit hole, here you go:

ASMR caught our attention initially because of it’s unique nature and the pull it had on people. Most categorized these videos with the other mind-numbing content prevalent on YouTube: gaming, un-boxing, “with me” videos…the list goes on. And while ASMR might fall into that category for some, it goes beyond the mindless pacification of your typical YouTube fodder… it touches people on a deeper level. 

It all started with Bob Ross and his happy little trees. For over a decade, people tuned into The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross, not because of the plot, exciting effects, or bizarre twists and turns, but because of his calming, almost hypnotic approach to explaining how to paint. People found their zen with him. To many in the ASMR world, Bob was the precursor to this movement and the ASMR Godfather. And that, we can understand. In the Eighties, many of us fell into his web of calm comfort and it soothed and captivated us in a way that was difficult to comprehend. It might not have been ASMR in it’s true form,  but his gentle tone and Mr. Rogers-esque supportive approach to communication is on par with ASMR as we know it today.

Armed with a better understanding of ASMR, it naturally made us wonder; How does this play in the advertising world? Which, in turn, led us down the next rabbit hole, see here: 

Clearly, we’re not the only ones considering ASMR as an advertising tool. From humorous to serious, advertisers are climbing aboard the ASMR train; which makes total sense. These videos allow advertisers a new way to establish a connection with their brands, on a deeper and more meaningful level than a passive ad; it invites the viewer into the experience and allows the brand to help deliver it. In much the same way advertisers use story and emotion to connect their brands to the viewer, ASMR Advertising allows for that connection to happen seamlessly. It has an overwhelming effect on people; capturing their attention and, more importantly, keeping it. Thus, making it a perfect vehicle to carry a message…assuming it’s the right one. ASMR Advertising would not work for every product, however, if you can create a meaningful connection via a trusted and captivating medium, then you might have just struck advertising gold. This appeal has led some advertisers to sponsor ASMR Artists who use the product in their videos…which is absolutely brilliant! They are tying in their brand with a trusted guide in the ASMR world, becoming both brand and provider; an indelible bond. 

In the coming weeks, we plan to put our research to work and create our own ASMR video to see what kind of response we get. Is it lightning in a bottle or a repeatable, measurable result we can effectively harness to help our clients? Time will tell. 

Until then, We hope you can find your happy little trees.