Friday, July 17, 2009

Making Audio Assistive Technology Sexy . . .

Hearing loss seems to strike the men in my family for one reason or another. My Grandpa worked in a metal stamping plant in the 50's-70's. My Dad lost hearing in one of his ears after a really bad car accident. I like to soup-up MINIs and that usually ends-up making them quite a bit louder than factory specification.

Since about 5 years ago, I now wear earplugs A LOT--concerts, banging a hammer when building things, grinding metal, taking my car to have dyno testing done-- whatever it takes to preserve the hearing that I have left. (I'm sure that some has been lost to the impatience of youth and/or non-consideration of loudness). When I have a son or a daughter, this child will have a pair of earplugs tucked in their jacket so that I can start them early on hearing protection.

OK, the stage for my personal interest in audio assistive technology is now set. The image above shows a product from a company called Widex called the mind440. This device blew my mind this week, but not for its physical design (which I believe is much more good than bad BTW). Instead, they did a fairly sexy online campaign for the mind440 that you can check out here:

So this site has some vignettes that are like a Chanel commercial at times. However, it mixes some enticing imagery with key pieces of consumer info that really hit the target areas of "Why do I need this?". The Flash animations, video, site styling, & layout give an aura of high-design to the mind440. It's a very de-stigmatizing approach to advertising this type of assistive technology. Widex chose to deal more with using their product as lifestyle maintenance rather than dwelling on hearing loss. Bravo to Widex!


P.S. (I'm going to do a little research to see what ad agency/firm they used to pull this production together. I'll report back once I know more.)

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