PSFK recently discussed the opportunities of olfactory marketing with Dawn Goldworm, founder of 12.29, a scent branding agency. Scent is not the only sense that marketers are beginning to pay attention to. Sound is another stimulus often overlooked in the industry.
Hailing from Japan, Yuri Suzuki is a sound artist, designer and electronic musician who explores how sound can build a connection between people and products. Between 1999 and 2005, he worked for Japanese art unit Maywa Denki, where he developed a strong interest in music and technology. In 2013, he founded Yuri Suzuki R&D, a consultancy for several companies such as Wieden + Kennedy, KKoutlet and AIAIA. In particular, Suzuki’s work for Red Stripe lager in 2011 demonstrates how a brand identity can be communicated using aspects of sound and music to create emotional connections to a brand.
Inspired by Red Stripe’s Jamaican roots, Suzuki created a sound installation entitled “Make Something From Nothing” that reflected the bass-driven sound stereo systems that power reggae music and can be found on the country’s city streets. 5,000 Red Stripe cans collected during the Notting Hill Carnival Festival, Britain’s annual celebration of Caribbean life, were re-purposed for the 8-foot wide, 8-foot long sculpture.
In Jamaica they had to make all instruments and sound systems from scratch, as there are not so many materials. However that made some great inventions, and the reggae music culture has been made by a DIY, frontier spirit. From the sound systems that started in the ghettos of Kingston to the attitude of the Jamaican people, it’s a place where if you don’t do it yourself, it isn’t going to happen.
This insight into Jamaican culture led to the natural connection between Red Stripe lager and the bass sounds of its national music. We spoke to Yuri briefly about his chosen media, his book BOOM, and the array of brands he has worked with to create sound-based experiences.
How are you working with brands and their agencies to create experiences?
I have been quite lucky to have good projects from agencies and brands. They gave me a lot of freedom on the creative side to make good projects. I think this situation is very lucky. Brands I have worked with include Red Stripe lager, Disney Research, the Malmö Museum, and Swedish soda company Loka.
What inspires your work in sound?
I am a big fan of music, especially dance music. Each city has a different music style, and new dance music genres excite me a lot. Also sound is the closest sense to brain – however, it is invisible and difficult to handle. I really like the challenge, which is why I am into sound.
Your book BOOM is a visualization of your sound work. How did you decide on a book to catalog it all?
I have been working quite a lot of projects in the past five years and thought would be great to compile the projects into something. Also I became interested in how to visualize sound or music, and [graphic design collective] Åbäke and I worked quite a lot (mainly Åbäke) and manage to visualize the sounds.