Skullcandy eschews the hard sell in new brand spots

Creative from KBS Toronto doesn't include a logo, works to build brand loyalty

Skullcandy is targeting a more grassroots audience to sell its headphones by using up-and-coming artists and photographers to promote the edgy entertainment brand.

The direction is intended to counter the celebrity power behind some rival brands such as Beats, co-founded by well-known rapper and producer Dr. Dre.

“It’s all about making meaningful connections with the audience. It’s a very competitive category,” said Nick Dean, president of KBS Toronto, the creative agency Skullcandy hired to help tell its story.

The first leg of the campaign includes a television spot called Avant Guard, featuring Montreal street artist Bonar and a full collection of work said to underscore Skullcandy’s “anthem to ‘Live life at full volume,’” according to KBS Toronto.

The TV ad plays during the action sports program Nitro Circus on NBCSN, the sport channel behind major American broadcaster NBC. Skullcandy also created a limited run of Grind headphones featuring Bonar’s artwork.

The campaign also includes the “Full Volume Video Series,” which are longer videos for digital content featuring street artist Meka, video producer Uzi, and urban photographers On the Roofs.

“At the end of the day this project is meant to inspire youth to look at these individuals as a source of inspiration for things they can take on in their own lives,” Dean told Marketing.

The agency’s goal was to position Skullcandy as both a headphone maker and as a lifestyle audio brand “built for passionate risk takers  … who do things their own way.”

The content doesn’t include Skullcandy logos, on purpose, Dean said, as it works to build brand loyalty.

The campaign is from KBS Toronto’s new sports and entertainment group, which launched this past summer. It includes two managing directors, one in Toronto and one in New York, supported by three or four staff across the agency, Dean said.

The sports and entertainment group also oversees work the agency does for The Keg Steakhouse & Bar, and others clients Dean said can’t yet be named.

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