Tuesday 14 August 2012

Which car engine makes that sound?

The idea for this post came about today morning, when I was half asleep in the office bus, on my way to work.
While being driven to work in a bus, sleep happens in short sprints. Sitting next to the window seat and upon realizing that the morning breeze is no longer sweeping across your face it dawns upon you that the bus is not moving, you keep your eyes closed for some time and then half opening them, you look out from the corner of your eyes to see why the bus is not moving, where you’ve reached and the time you still have on your hand for another quick nap in the bus. Usual interruptions are the sounds of traffic on the signal or in a traffic jam. Sometimes it is just the whooshing sound of vehicles whizzing past yours or someone suddenly breaking to a screeching halt which wakes you up.
During these occurrences, while your visual faculties are overpowered by the urge to take a nap, somehow your aural faculties are still ticking. One may have earplugs plugged in to their ears listening to local radio or music from their mobile phone/portable music player, or the music is being played out from the loudspeakers in the bus (this option does not apply to me, as we have a very spartan bus service), the ambient sounds in the bus, of folks boarding at designated pick up points (sounds of their backpacks rubbing against the backrest of the seats while moving down the aisle and looking for vacant seats or ‘excuse me’, ‘can you shift’ etc.), sound of the bus engine or lastly the sounds on the road from, hawkers, honking from the vehicles, vehicles whizzing past your bus, folks revving the engine on traffic signals, etc…
Though your nasal senses also absorb the environment around you…let’s leave it out for now J
But how does all this lends itself to a business opportunity?
I’ll regress to my earlier post, Pappu Pass Ho Gaya!, where I mentioned about the contest ‘Who said to whom’. In this contest a short dialogue is played from a bollywood movie and the listeners have to text, who said this dialogue to whom and the name of the movie. Taking a spin on this contest on radio, what if who and whom are vehicle sounds instead of bollywood celebrities! The vehicle sounds could be sounds of their engines or the car horn and the listeners have to identify the make of the vehicle.
Another spin to the contest can be two sounds of the same vehicle make…one that is brand new and another which is, say 03 years old. In fact the core idea is the vehicle sound, irrespective of whether it is a two wheeler or a four wheeler. How the concept is packaged and presented is up to the creative discretion of the radio station.
Ideal sponsors of this contest could be engine oil/auto lubricant manufacturers, auto service providers, auto dealerships, etc.
The idea is not outlandish…a quick Google search with the search string ‘engine sound application’, returns umpteen results of mobile phone applications which playback engine sounds and facts/trivia about engine sounds. There is also a mobile app which produces official Ferrari engine sound!
Even as kids, on our way to school, it was a common amongst us to quiz our pals to identify the vehicle coming behind us by just listening to its sound…!
I believe every one of us have developed auditory discrimination skills at a sub-conscious level during our growing years or as part of our daily experiences…isn’t it time that this human capability is leveraged by radio stations, thus generating a better recall for their clients!

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