These Silent Autoplay Ads on Facebook Are Helping People With Hearing Loss

BBR Saatchi & Saatchi plays around with the music

Soundtracks can drastically change the emotional tone of a video. BBR Saatchi & Saatchi cleverly leverages this fact in a campaign for an Israeli nonprofit serving people with hearing loss.

Three ads for the group, known as Bekol, use Facebook’s in-feed video format, which runs automatically but stays silent until clicked, to pair striking visuals with counterintuitive soundtracks.

In one, a woman lies belly-flat on a surfboard, smiling as she paddles out through clear blue waters on a sunny day. A sinister, tension-building orchestral score plays in the background, suggesting a shark (or some other hidden danger) lurks unseen, poised to attack at any moment. “If you’ve turned on the sound and this video still looks fun to you,” reads the caption, “you’d better get your hearing checked.”

In another, a little girl lies sleeping, and smiling sweetly. A pair of hands tucks her in. Ominous music plays. Like the first clip, onscreen text urges viewers to get a hearing test if they think the video looks sweet.

The third flips the script, featuring a Blair Witch style camera chasing a woman as she runs through a forest, the edges of the frame blacked out. A strumming ukelele suggest the scene is less scary, and more twee, than it might first appear.

The first two spots arguably work better. The framing of the visuals in the third ad are enough to carry the idea that something is at the very least off kilter about the scene, and the ukelele could actually amplify the idea that something is about to go horribly wrong.

Overall, though, the campaign is a smart way to play on the general audience habit of pausing to watch Facebook videos while scrolling through a news feed, without necessarily clicking on them to activate audio. A representative for the agency says 85 percent of users usually view these videos (which often include subtitles) with the sound off.

Whether the gag is enough to get people to run out for a hearing test is a different question. But BBR Saatchi & Saatchi readily admit it’s a clickbait approach, so it’s hard to fault them for being a bit trollish—especially in service of a good cause.

Agency: BBR Saatchi & Saatchi
CEO: Yossi Lubaton
Chief Creative Officer: Idan Regev
Creative Director: Kobi Cohen
Creative Team: Ronni Azulay, Idan Levy
Creative Technology Director: Roy Zoaretz
VP Client Services: Ben Muskal
VP Content & Production: Dorit Gvili
Account Supervisor: Reni Bracha-Landau
Account Executive: Shiran Atuan Rachamim
Marcom Director: Eva Hasson
Digital Studio Manager: Michael Shelly
Video Editor: Eyal Vinizer

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