BBC Sounds' star-studded launch ad takes young listener on audio journey

Personalised audio app is the BBC's biggest product launch in more than a decade.

The BBC has unveiled its biggest product launch in more than a decade, BBC Sounds, with a campaign that follows one listener’s journey from meeting Kylie Minogue in a lift to Idris Elba on a bus. 

BBC Sounds is a personalised music, radio and podcast app that will offer a single home for the BBC’s thousands of hours of audio content, including live and on-demand shows and special music mixes curated by artists. It aims to reach younger listeners who are spending less time on traditional radio channels in favour of on-demand audio and streaming services.

BBC Creative, the broadcaster’s in-house creative division, create an ad that follows one audience member throughout her day as she is joined by a range of music, radio and podcast talent. Other stars to feature in "Listen without limits" include Rita Ora, Wretch 32, Jared Leto, Rachel Parris, Son Heung-Min, Brian Cox and various BBC presenters. 

The work was created by James Reynolds and Nick Robinson, and directed by Megaforce through Riff Raff.

A series of 100-, 90-, 40- and 10-second edits will run across BBC channels and cinemas, along with out-of-home executions and experiential activity in 19 UK cities. 

"In a world of expanding on-demand audio and streaming services, our younger listeners are spending less time with BBC Radio. Our ambition for BBC Sounds is to create the listening habit of the future," Claire Jullien, BBC portfolio head of marketing, said. 

Laurent Simon, executive creative director at BBC Creative, added: "Sounds is the BBC’s biggest product launch since BBC iPlayer over a decade ago. Coupled with the heritage of great music ads like ‘Perfect day’ and ‘God only knows’, we had to make a big statement of intent. 

"The idea of ‘Listen without limits’ focuses on the benefit of the app offering music, radio and podcasts all in one place: expanding your audio bubble leads to richer and more interesting experiences."

Megaforce, the directing duo Charles Brisgand and Raphaël Rodriguez who also shot Nike’s "Nothing beats a Londoner" earlier this year, said they used a new aural technique for BBC Sounds’ campaign. 

"When we first saw the script for BBC Sounds, we had the idea that instead of editing in a visual way, it could be interesting to approach the script in an aural way, as the whole film is showcasing things that are available to listen to on the app of your phone," they said. "It is always interesting to create a new idea or technique you have not done before, especially when it is at the heart of the idea."

Havas Media Group and BBC Media Planning handled media planning and buying, Mother Design helped with design and branding, and social media is by BBC Creative and Somethin’ Else.

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