Yamaha spreads the joy of music

The company shows what music can mean to the hard of hearing in its first Canadian campaign in several years.

Yamaha Canada is encouraging music lovers to share the gift of music in “Random Acts of Music,” its first original campaign here in several years.

The brand worked with Toronto-based agency The Metrick System to create the Random Acts of Music website, which will feature curated videos and social posts showing people finding ways to improve the lives of others through music. To kick things off, the agency and the company created this video showing people to whom music was very important before they began to lose their hearing. Cochlear implants helped them experience it again.

The campaign is also supporting and raising awareness for the work being done at Sunnybrook Hospital’s Cochlear Implant Program, the largest of its kind for adults in Canada. Cochlear implants are electrical devices that can be surgically implanted in certain individuals who are losing their hearing to give them a sense of sound. The campaign will also be supported and promoted by media partners like CBC Music, to which Yamaha is providing equipment and instruments as prizes for its annual Searchlight contest.

Steve Butterworth, VP of the musical instruments division at Yamaha Canada, says the video is meant to inspire people to find their own ways to bring the gift of music into other people’s lives and share it using the campaign hashtag. Butterworth says he’ll be bringing his band to the seniors’ residence his father lives in for a surprise performance to contribute to the campaign, and the site already features curated videos showing everything from surprise musical performances to creating songs out of rumble strips on the highway in order to get the ball rolling.

Butterworth says to help fight the perception of Yamaha as a faceless corporate giant, the company was looking for a way to link to a greater cause and promote the value of music overall, instead just around a particular product.

“The subject matter is so close to our hearts and we know the benefits of music, but how do you describe the feeling of performing music to someone who has never done that, and how do you get them interested in finding out what that is like?” Butterworth says.

That led the company to the subject of hearing loss. “The idea of losing your hearing, and then getting it back and enjoying music again, could be a great way to illustrate the value music has for some people,” he says.

From an internal perspective, the campaign is also setting Yamaha Canada up for more mass marketing work going forward. Butterworth says the company, which has a marketing staff of 25 people, has a small budget and has mostly been relying on more tactical promotions that could be developed internally and adaptations of creative from other markets in recent years. Yamaha used this campaign to “brush up” on certain internal marketing skills and to “dip its toe” in the Canadian agency world again.

“Agencies will pitch to us and throw up numbers in the mid-six figures to do a project, and that’s our budget for the year,” Butterworth says. “Because of that, it can be hard for [agencies] to get engaged, so we thought this would be the kind of thing for a company like us to get engaged with that world. Now we understand a bit better the value of an agency and getting the right one.”