Audio-Device Maker ALO Flies United

Music-BFewer people these days make the couch their music lounge. Most have become peripatetic listeners, thanks to mobile digital devices. Portland, Ore.-based ALO Audio, which has traditionally marketed its hand-built, U.S.-made audio equipment to audiophiles, is targeting the music-on-the-move group to tout its pocket-sized, sound-enhancement, hi-fi device, "The National." 

To reach Gen Y frequent travelers with $75,000 or more in discretionary income, the company is doing its first-ever campaign on United Airlines’ in-flight media channels. 

Comprising old-school, full-page black-and-white print ads with ’60s vintage typography and a 60-second video with a rockabilly guitar track, the ads are on United Airlines’ in-flight magazine Hemispheres and its video Entertainment Channel. Headlines include: “It makes all music sound incredible. Even boy bands,” and “Hear every note of that ten-minute guitar solo. For better or worse.” Tag: "Wherever the music takes you."

The campaign, via Denver-based Cultivator Advertising & Design, touts the company's “retro quality sound from modern electronics,” to highlight old-fashioned, high-fidelity manufacturing and sound standards. 

"As people are carrying more gadgets with them, we feel we want to start reaching beyond our niche market to more people,” says Caleb Rosenau, marketing director, ALO Audio. “It's an opportunity to reach a mainstream audience that has made an exchange over time -- part of the MP3 revolution -- of convenience for quality." 

"This is a test that starts with print and video and will expand from there," says Matt Neren, account director at Cultivator. "The marketing they have done in the past was more geared toward audiophiles, and about how to get better performance out of a portable music collection. We are trying to reach a new group of people." 

The old-school creative hearkens to a time when, arguably, sound quality was better, before digital systems that deliver a fraction of the audio nuances available. "This restores the quality that your phone or personal music device is losing," says Neren. 

The ads drive consumers to the ALO landing page, which goes into deeper technical detail about the products in layman's terms. "We tried to make the landing page simple." The effort, which airs (literally) starting this week, was also timed to launch before the holidays. 

Rosenau tells Marketing Daily that the huge popularity of big-ticket premium headphones is one indicator that there's a market for “The National.” As for actually being able to test the device to see if it actually works, "We have a 30-day return policy," he says.

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