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Generation sound

Oct 27, 2020

From the lullabies that helped us drift off in our cribs, to the nursery rhymes and songs we sang in school, sound and music have always been a big part of our early lives. These sounds deliver the comfort and familiarity we seek as children, and they’re traditions that have never gone out of fashion – even as technology has evolved. But technology has changed the way today’s younger generation engage and interact with audio – something many brands are using to their advantage.

The dream drive:

Lullabies aren’t the only sounds that soothe young children to sleep. A study found that more than half of parents resort to a ‘dream drive’ to get babies and toddlers snoozing – with most believing that it’s the movement of the vehicle that helps them drift off. But research has revealed that it’s actually the soothing sound frequencies of internal combustion engines that make cars the perfect sleeping spots. These engines transmit a combination of white, pink and brown noise – creating an orchestral soundscape that’s especially effective in helping young people relax.

But with increasing numbers of drivers switching to zero-emission electric vehicles  that no longer produce those sleep-inducing sounds, parents are searching for ways to emulate that dream drive experience, without the environmental impact. Enter Nissan. The popular family car manufacturer has partnered with Sound Designer and Sleep Coach Tom Middleton to create the Nissan LEAF ‘Dream Drive’, the world’s first zero-emission lullaby. They’ve created five three-minute tracks that mimic the peaceful sounds of a humming combustion engine, without the carbon cost, so parents can play them in their electric car to establish the same comforting setting for toddlers.

 

Capturing the consumers of the future:

This campaign proves how receptive children are to audio, and the lengths brands are going to in order to reach these consumers of the future. It’s recently been reported that the use of smart speakers and voice-enabled devices has skyrocketed this year – with 42% of families using this kind of tech together more often over the last three months. Many children are becoming accustomed to voice assistants from an early age, as parents rely on the ease of these devices to juggle the tasks of daily life – whether that’s calling while they have their hands full, or asking for the weather report before getting kids dressed in the morning. One computer scientist at the University of Sunderland has predicted that we could even see the emergence of celebrity voice assistants in the future – giving children the chance to feel like they’re having real conversations with their favourite fictional characters.

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A whole generation is growing up primed and ready for audio, so today’s businesses must adapt in order to form connections with these sound-savvy spenders. Gone are the days when voice interactions were a novelty for consumers – they’re now an expectation. And the businesses that stay silent risk being left behind.