Music Icons Take You Home in Sonos Holiday Push

Work by 72andSunny Stars Rick Rubin, Gary Clark, Jr., Q-Tip

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Sonos is packing the culture of music into a holiday-season campaign that will feature videos with some of the industry's biggest icons.

The effort, themed "This is Sonos" and created by Sonos agency 72andSunny, is set to start on TV this Wednesday during Fox's "Empire." One focus will be the company's new Play:5 speakers.

Earlier TV work for Sonos by 72andSunny included a spot starring cute animated blobs filling a kitchen to the tune of "Nous Etions Deux" by La Femme. This year, however, the campaign will deploy Rick Rubin, Gary Clark Jr. and Q-Tip.

Ads are set to air during shows like "Blacklist," "American Horror Story" and NBA games, and appear on websites including Vice.

"You are going to see a ton of it," said Sonos CMO Joy Howard, who joined about four months ago. "It will be robust media and people will see it in high profile places in cinema, too. We didn't always do this, but playing in cinema is awesome. The sounds are just so good."

The holiday blitz is a departure from Ms. Howard's previous advertising-is-"dead last" philosophy at Patagonia, where she had been VP of marketing.

"Advertising is still not the top priority for me at Sonos, but I think it is definitely an appropriate medium for this message," Ms. Howard said. "It also has a lot to do with the capability of the team, quite frankly. Patagonia already had strong catalog departments and storytelling across different media. So there was already a well-developed capability at Patagonia."

"I think for Sonos, they have done great work in the past and making great films was something that was really a natural way for us to get this message out," she added. "And it's just one part of the mix. But TV is right for this particular message. We really want to get people's attention about something we feel is really problematic and pervasive."

The "problematic and pervasive" issue at hand, Ms. Howard said, is the deteriorating quality of audio as it's consumed via cellphones and other wireless devices. Part of Sonos's pitch is restoring sound quality even with its wireless audio components.

People like Mr. Rubin, a producer who has worked with everyone from Adele to Kanye West, "talk about music and experience in a way that is just so hard for other people to do," Ms. Howard said. "He is really a deep listener and what he had to say was so natural, and so beautiful. He has such great experience in what we hope to do with technology when listening to music, which is to make it disappear."

In one of the spots, Mr. Clark Jr. lets music do most of the talking, but has a few words as well. "Music is not a houseplant," he says. "It shouldn't just stay in one room. If I want blues, I want it in the whole house."

All the listening on the go today is compromising the power of music in some ways, Ms. Howard said. "The ability to have a great listening experience either on your own or with others has never been more diminished," she said. "When you have a message that is broad-reaching, it is really cool to use broad media to get that message out."

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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article said the stars of the new Sonos campaign aren't being paid for their appearances because they are partners with the company, information that was provided by representatives of Sonos. They are paid endorsers.

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