Three Things You Need to Know About ASMR Videos

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by Amanda Stears

What is ASMR?

ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response, a sensory phenomenon that is increasingly known to induce relaxation and counteract anxiety. ASMR is known to induce a tingling sensation which usually spreads across the scalp and back of the neck when triggered by audio and visual stimuli.

ASMR videos can be categorised as food and non-food videos. The former is often paired with Mukbang (which originated as a Korean trend and involves the live broadcast of a person eating, often a close-up of the ASMR artist eating or drinking). Think Coca-Cola: picture opening the bottle of coke, the fizz, pouring it over ice, more fizz – that’s the gist of ASMR food (beverage) videos. Non-food videos often place more emphasis on whispers, soft crinkles, or finger flutters that are accompanied by repeated movements that will leave sensitive viewers with goose bumps and tingles.

Is ASMR trending?

In April 2019, the Independent reported over 13 million ASMR videos on YouTube. Popular food ASMR artist, SAS-ASMR, has 7.75 million subscribers and more than 1.6 billion views on her YouTube channel. The most popular video of her eating honeycombs has amassed over 38 million views. If you are a foodie and animal lover, there are tons of ASMR videos of animals eating – YouTube channel My Animal ASMR has over 7.1 million views.

ASMR artist Gibi ASMR creates non-food videos with emphasis on sounds such as tapping and whispering. With a subscriber base of 2.2 million and over 633.7 million views on her YouTube channel, Gibi ASMR’s most popular video titled [ASMR] Dark & Relaxing Tapping & Scratching [Close Whispers] has 14 million views. This phenomenon has also been embraced by many celebrities, with the likes of Cardi B confessing to be an avid ASMR watcher.

Why is it a phenomenon?

ASMR plays a significant role in this age of anxiety (especially amongst millennials) simply due to its ability to aid relaxation and psychological issues. There are videos galore specifically to relive stress, anxiety and insomnia. Food videos have the reputation to aid eating habits and increase appetites. The amount of ASMR YouTube creators, channels and videos are a testament to this growing trend.

Follow This, a short form documentary series on Netflix, has an episode dedicated to ASMR. Beer brand Michelob Ultra had an ASMR commercial featuring Zoë Kravitz during this year’s Super Bowl. The ad was 45 seconds long and watched by 98.2M people. A 30 second slot during the Super Bowl cost $5.25 million.

Ikea USA ran a marketing campaign in 2017, titled “Oddly IKEA”: IKEA ASMR, targeting college students. The main video is over 25 minutes long, with over 2.6 million views. The top comment, with over 3,200 likes, comes from user Ofbaserion commenting “World’s first ad that’s 25 minutes long and doesn’t annoy people”. The latest ASMR ad comes from Bacardi’s The Sound of Rum campaign – a 57 second music video focusing on sounds from rum cocktail making. Whether you are a brand, advertiser, YouTube creator, social media influencer or an ASMR fan, there is substantial demand for this video genre in this growing community. Despite being a term coined back in 2010, this trend still shows significant potential for consumer brands and fans alike.

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