Jawbone Gets Edgy in Web Campaign

NEW YORK Jawbone, the Bluetooth headset, takes its noise-elimination claims quite literally in a new online campaign — with unexpectedly violent results.

In a series of four Web films lensed by music video director Sam Beyer, the audio accessory made by Aliph in San Francisco is portrayed as keeping out so much noise that a shark can eat a group of teens, an obnoxious restaurant diner can drown in his soup, two male rugby players can make out in a crowded bar and a racist customer can be beaten to death at a dry cleaner without the nearby Jawbone user even noticing.

“If you look across the different forms of entertainment, you will find the sharpest forms of content take on controversial issues,” said Jason Deland, co-founder, Anomaly, New York, which in addition to creating this campaign is a shareholder in Jawbone. “You don’t see brands doing that even though they profess to want to get into content. We’re seeking to use intelligence and want people to think and contemplate and end up in our camp.”

The four films, ranging in length from two to three minutes, are designed to get a reaction from people, which they have. When the last video, “Medium Fucking Starch,” went up on video-sharing sites last week, it received between 450,000 and 500,000 views.

In it an outraged customer storms into a dry cleaner and proceeds to berate the Asian man behind the counter for not putting enough starch in his shirt. The customer questions the cashier’s ability to speak English with a variety of racist impressions while demanding that his shirt be starched immediately. The spot ends with several Asian women, who appear to be the proprietor’s daughters, placing a clear plastic bag over the customer’s head and stomping him to death. While this is happening, a Jawbone customer talks to his wife, oblivious to what is taking place mere feet from him.

While the spot is officially called “Medium Fucking Starch,” it can be found on some video-sharing sites under the title “Hot Asian Girls Beat Up White Guy.”

On break.com the video received 440 comments, which touched on everything from what the reaction would have been had the customer been played by a black actor instead of a white male to jokes about Asians knowing kung-fu.

The film will be shown at technology expos like CES and CTIA where Jawbone exhibits. “It’s designed to get people to talk about race and race issues. The film is very polarizing without a doubt,” said Deland.