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Headphone brands have been making waves in the market with their unique and quirky marketing campaigns. Companies like Boat, JBL and Skullcandy have successfully captured the attention of consumers through their innovative approaches.

These brands understand the power of effective marketing campaigns in a saturated market, where standing out is essential for success. By employing creative strategies and collaborating with influential personalities and brands, they have been able to create lasting impressions on their target audience - which is primarily the youth.

While audio brands may have a wide demographic for products like speakers and radios - which will likely have the older generation as their core customer base. Headphones, headsets and earphones have captured the youth market, primarily due to the mobility habits of young people. Young people tend to travel a lot more than the older generation; thus, they need a device which is mobile, just like them.

Let's take a closer look at some of the standout campaigns by these brands that have left a lasting impression on the audience:

Boat: Embracing the World of Streaming with boAt X Netflix

One campaign that grabbed the spotlight is the collaboration between Boat and Netflix. The "boAt X Netflix" campaign aimed to emphasise the importance of quality audio while streaming content. Featuring popular Bollywood actress Kiara Advani and Boat's Co-founder Aman Gupta, the campaign highlighted the idea that video streaming experiences are enhanced with headphones.

The video starts with a man headbanging to music while watching a dance sequence in one of the episodes of a popular Netflix show, ‘Never Have I Ever’. The first frame is shot in the midst of complete chaos that is depicted to be like Mumbai’s traffic. The bike on which the character listening to songs is sitting also seems to be a ‘bike taxi’, it accurately portrays the urban youth’s life and their vehicle of choice in the high density of traffic of the city. They also escape their noisy and sometimes overwhelming surroundings by tuning out and watching content on their mobile phones.

The visual treatment of the video is what makes it stand out, the video has been made using signs and symbols that clearly resonate with the youth. We see the incorporation of graphics which highlight the outline of various characters in the video, along with real-life visuals that give the video a ‘funky’ look. The use of bright pop colours is also a remnant of the colours that Boat uses for its headphones. Bright colours also connote youthfulness, as they are more ‘alive’ than sombre colours.

Another key visual signifier to note is the Boat logo being replaced by the Netflix logo on the earphones and headsets. When the video is portraying characters by way of graphics, we see the boat logo on the headphones of their graphically made depiction. But when there is a transition to real life, that logo changes to the Netflix logo, which denotes the seamless union between the two brands. The transition from Masaba Gupta’s graphic caricature to the real-life Masaba Gupta clearly illustrates this transition.

The entire video is centred around the themes of physical mobility, multitasking and unhinged energy - that is what defines the contemporary youth according to both Boat and Netflix. We see the mobility in the fast-paced-dance sequences and characters traversing different spaces with complete ease. The multi-tasking nature of the youth is clearly seen when Masaba Gupta seems to be streaming Netflix while attending a conference call. All of the characters are energetic, and even the music sounds like it is intended to pump you up.

Through the use of graphics, the video also highlights the benefits and qualities of the headphones and thus converts the functionality into personality in their narrative building.  For instance, we see a lot of graphics that denote ‘sound’ emitting from the headphones. It appears to be a loud sound because the graphic depiction is made more elaborately. Thus, graphics add to the personality of the brand by highlighting its features quite distinctly. And it is exactly this transformative effect that is central to their creativity and keeps the brand aura flying high.

Netflix and Boat did a really good job in clearly communicating the campaign’s core messaging that the headphones brand makes the characters of the series come to life due to its rich sound; the same can be seen in the campaign through the visual personification of characters of various Netflix series in the video.

Another really good thing about this campaign is that, unlike most marketing campaigns, celebrities do not overshadow the brand storytelling. Celebrities are definitely a part of the narrative, but they are not central to the narrative themselves.

By positioning headphones as an essential accessory for escaping the realities of the world, Boat successfully connects with its target audience - the youth.

JBL: #LiveItRaw #LiveItReal ft. Ranveer Singh

JBL, known for its powerful sound systems, leveraged the popularity of Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh to appeal to the youth. Through the #LiveItRaw #LiveItReal campaign, JBL portrayed itself as a brand that understands the desires and aspirations of the younger generation. Singh's rap-star persona is reminiscent of his role in the acclaimed film "Gully Boy". The song also seems to have been sung by Ranveer Singh, who incorporates words like ‘rebel’, ‘toofan’, ‘kranti’ into the song - all of these words allude to the rebellious attitude of the youth.

The visual signifiers of the video also allude heavily to the youth culture. The video is shot in an empty warehouse, which is again reminiscent of the rap battle scene in the film ‘Gully Boy’. All the people featured in the video are wearing casual streetwear with ‘pop’ colours. They have funky hairstyles and sunglasses and are seeped into off-beat professions such as dancers and drummers. There is also a panel of six judges that are sitting across them and judging them; they are all dressed in black - to denote the monotonous nature of the rest of the society. Even though all the judges seem to also be in the same age bracket - they are typing out their inner thoughts on chats like ‘uncles and aunties’ of the society do and sending it to one another. The visual battle is clearly between monotony and unconventionality.

Also, the hashtags used in the campaign, #LiveItRaw and #LiveItReal, conveyed the brand's message that young individuals want to break free from societal expectations and be their authentic selves. JBL's campaign successfully tapped into the raw and real attributes that are relatable to the youth, distancing itself from materialistic perceptions.

JBL’s messaging to target the youth is quite right, as the youth usually does not want to conform to the expected roles of society. The intended message of the campaign fits quite rightly, as the youth wants to, in the words of Freddie Mercury - ‘Break free’.

Skullcandy’s Limited Edition Collaboration with Budweiser

 Skullcandy's collaboration with Budweiser for a limited edition headphone collection is a brilliant move that taps into the pulse of the youth culture. The partnership between these two influential brands brings together the worlds of music and socializing, appealing to the vibrant and dynamic spirit of today's youth. By aligning with Budweiser, a brand that is deeply embedded in youth culture, Skullcandy has created a product that resonates with the target demographic and captures their attention.

The campaign video released by Skullcandy on YouTube perfectly captures the essence of youth culture. The video features young people riding a bicycle, taking the subway and mostly walking on the streets to reach their common meeting point - a party. The young people are also called as the “vibe setters” in the video. Thus, unlike Boat or JBL, Skullcandy’s video, which features the American youth instead of the Indian youth, is also filled with the same themes of youth culture - visuals of mobility, catchy tunes, and a sense of adventure, creating a captivating narrative that connects with the aspirations and passions of young people.

This collaboration signifies more than just a product release; it represents a cultural moment that celebrates the intersection of music, fashion, and social experiences. Skullcandy's limited edition headphones, in partnership with Budweiser, are more than just a listening device – they are a statement piece that allows the youth to express their individuality and be part of a larger cultural movement. It's a testament to Skullcandy's understanding of the importance of youth culture and its ability to create products that resonate with this influential demographic.


Headphone brands have proven their mettle in the branded content arena through their quirky and engaging campaigns. These campaigns not only showcased the brands' products but also highlighted the transformative power of audio experiences. By tapping into the realms of mobility, catchy tunes, and a sense of adventure, brands like Boat, JBL, and Skullcandy have successfully managed to put out a clear message to the youth - ‘you are adventurous and we acknowledge that. Let us also facilitate or be a part of your adventures.’

However, brands like Skullcandy could do a lot more by marketing their brands to specific audiences. The way to go about it would be to ‘regionalise’ their brand by creating campaigns that are deeply rooted in the specific geographical region while remaining within the domain of the youth culture.