Let’s Hear It | CMO Breakfast Wrap-Up

Racepoint Global

What possibly could the Sistine Chapel, Gillette Stadium and pro golfer Rory McIlroy all have in common? Bose is equipping their sound. Last week I had the chance to attend the AdClub’s CMO breakfast where I heard Michael Mangione, Director of Bose Consumer Marketing, speak about the progression of the company’s marketing evolution – here are some of my learnings and takeaways.

Started in 1964, Bose was founded by MIT Professor, Dr. Amar Bose (Bose is actually owned in large part by MIT). Bose is known primarily for their consumer electronics products like home audio systems and speakers and noise cancelling headphones. It’s even said that Dr. Bose developed noise cancelling headphones while he was on a flight and the jet engines were way too loud for him to listen to music – so we can thank him for the ability to jam out to our Spotify playlists and binge-watch our favorite shows in peace during flights.

consumer sports marketing

In addition to their consumer offerings, Bose also has larger divisions like automotive and provides professional sound products for hotels, restaurants, stadiums, schools and places of worship around the world.

Michael kicked off the discussion by stating that marketing for Bose has come a long way since their long copy print ads and their direct marketing strategy. As multi-channel marketing emerged, people began buying consumer electronics products in places like Best Buy and things were changing dramatically – the direct marketing machine that Bose had built was no longer working for them.

“In marketing, you have to constantly be testing, optimizing and learning,” said Michael. “This was an exciting, but challenging time but we had to think about how to do things incredibly differently.”

So what did Bose’s marketing team do to solve this problem? They started looking at audience expansion and segmentation and focused on being relevant in the areas their audience cared about the most.


Expanding their Sports Presence

Bose moved into sports first and who better to kick it off with than the NFL. With their “game-changing sound” campaign, Bose used an integrated approach in television and digital with their NFL sponsorship.

To continue its expansion into sports, Bose selected Rory McIlroy as their first official brand ambassador and the creation of the campaign #BetterNeverQuits. This campaign had Rory push a few branded videos and a custom Master’s headphone sweepstakes which led to impressive metrics that the team wasn’t used to.

consumer marketing advertising sports

Bose also began a relationship with the Ski and Snowboard Association and the SOCHI Olympics. Athletes create their own social posts and content and some even provide Bose with their own videos. “We think social in celebrity works best when it’s the athletes telling their story the way they like to tell it in the social channels they use to the fans that are genuinely interested in what they’re doing and it’s not brand heavy,” said Michael.


Headfirst into the NFL

For the past three years, Bose has supplied NFL coaches, teams and players with their products – can you imagine cancelling the sound of the deafening cheers of 50,000+ fans?! Pretty impressive.

bose consumer marketing sound patriots

“In Bill We Trust”

What’s most interesting about this is that Bose has had so much social exposure and success with the leagues and the teams pushing out Bose products that many of the NFL players who are photographed with Bose headphones aren’t even paid endorsements.  As Michael sums up in his talk, “the best type of advertising isn’t brand heavy; it’s people using our products because they want to use these products in real, everyday situations.”

Interestingly enough, as an NFL sponsor, Bose doesn’t buy any NFL TV spots. However, the company has taken advantage of the passion of the Super Bowl and the passion of the fans, most recently through their #LetsHearIt campaign. The digital/social campaign encouraged fans to upload a video of themselves performing chants and upload the message to social media platforms. Bose then took the videos and created a montage that was played on the Jumbotron during warm-ups at the Super Bowl.

Big Papi’s #LetsHearIt cheer is probably my favorite of all the Bose influencers:

Integrating Music

One of surprising things I learned from this discussion is that Michael admits that as an audio company, Bose hasn’t been doing enough with music. To combat this, Bose has been focused on the intersection of music and sports and launched a few TV ads with this integration.

Check out this fun spot, where Macklemore gives Seahawks QB, Russell Wilson, a pep talk:


What’s Next?

So what’s next for Bose? Michael said that the company is looking to push more into music environments and artists including fans, influencers, experiential advertising and content.

Moving forward, Bose is looking to do the following in their marketing strategy.

  1. Continue to focus on end consumer. Need to have a strong sense of what they care about.
  2. Increase digital and data capabilities. Focus on more meaningful experiences through digital.
  3. Innovate. Although the history is core to the Bose brand, they are really focused on continuing to be innovative.

As marketers, we can take away many of the learnings that Michael outlined in his CMO Breakfast keynote – don’t let standard marketing practices cancel the noise of continued innovation and customer centricity.


By Brigid Sweeney, Agency Marketing & Business Development Manager