Beck's Shows How Different Sound Frequencies Can Change the Taste of Beer

Fun stunt from AKQA in Brazil

Can listening to different sound frequencies make your beer taste more or less bitter?

Well, Beck's in Brazil, working with AKQA São Paulo, developed a whole ad campaign around the concept, so we're pretty sure the premise will hold up in this project video:

AKQA modeled the initiative on research conducted at Oxford University. During Beck's on-camera taste tests, the subjects grooved to tracks mixed at 73 Hz by Brazilian DJs including Borato, Badista and Amanda Mussi. Indeed, the low-frequency versions seemed to enhance the brew's bitterness, while tracks played at 1046 Hz reversed the effect.

So … the goal was to prove that Beck's could taste far more bitter than it already does? That's … great? Actually, it's a novel idea that AKQA hopes will drive brand interest and engagement.

Grab a pint and try it here if you like. (Yes, you could sample the experience by sipping some Coors or wine or lattes with funky foam-art floating on top. But that would be a tad off brand, now wouldn't it?)

"When we told the film director [Cristiano Trindade, aka GOTACX] the idea, he reacted the same way as anyone else that hears about it for the first time. He didn't believe it actually worked, which is probably what any reader of this article is also thinking at this point," AKQA creative director Chris Vellutini tells Muse.

"So, he kind of just went along, but told us he would need a few extra people on set to try out the experiment, since he might not get the reactions we were expecting," Vellutini recalls. "But after our meeting, the entire production company's team involved in the shoot ended up trying out the frequency for themselves and were amazed that it actually did change their perception of bitterness. To be honest, even with all our positivity and pre-testing, we weren't 100 percent sure if the frequency would have the same effect on everyone that was invited to be a part of the experiment on the day of the shoot, and how their reactions would work on camera."

However, "it worked better than we imagined, and all eight people that did the test felt that the beer became more bitter when the DJ played the 'Beck's Frequency' (73 Hz) on their headphones," he says. "One of the guys even stood up and walked away because he thought he was being punked."

"This was probably the first taste test done with a single beer and no blindfolds, so that each person could see with their own eyes that we weren't tricking them or anything, that it was all about the frequency," Vellutini says.

As in a similar stunt a few months back from cheese brand Castello and creative shop Mother, sensory enhancement goes down smooth. Well, in Beck's case, bitter. The point is: science!


Title: Beck's Frequency
Client: Beck's

Agency: AKQA SP
Global CCOs: Diego Machado and Hugo Veiga
ECD: Renato Zandoná
Associate Creative Director: Chris Vellutini
Creative Team: Camila Shoji, Thiago Barbieri, Rodrigo Sganzerla,  Raphael Valenti, Caio Muratore, Felipe Autran
Managing Director: Luiza Baffa
Strategy: Gabriella Teixeira, Isabella Marchese and Amanda Dea
Brand Lead: Aline Garcia, Paula Santana, Maura Victorelli and Yago Sant'Anna
Brand Manager: Stella Gafo, Juliana Pereira, Beatriz Durlo, Amanda Lavanere, Luciana Nogueira and Marcella Féo

PR AKQA: Débora Bacaltchuk
PR Becks: Larissa Camargo, Erika Stephan

3D: Beeld
Production Company: Seiva
Director: GOTACX
Sound Production Company: Hefty
Website: Webcare

David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is managing editor at Clio Awards.

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