If you had a reaction to that Michelob Ultra commercial where Zoe Kravitz goes soundlab with tapping, whispers, and pouring a beer, there is a reason for that: it was designed that way.
ASMR, or “autonomous sensory meridian response,” has been around for close to a decade, but finally made its way into the mainstream with a Michelob Ultra commercial during the Super Bowl Sunday night. The ad featured actress Zoe Kravitz whispering softly into a microphone, tapping her nails against the bottle, all to get us to buy some beer.
It’s a big trend right now, and there are countless videos on YouTube of people whispering directly into microphones and tapping their fingers on things to try and stimulate an ASMR response for viewers.
ASMR was first coined in 2010 and has since gathered thousands of faithful followers online. Content creators on YouTube, for example, upload hours-long videos of them stroking the camera’s lens with makeup brushes, drawing with crayons, drumming their fingers against leather and creating other similar tingly sounds that users claim help them sleep and calm down.
Everyone’s triggers are different: some may ooze with satisfaction at the sound of a page turning, others from a laugh — and others may not experience ASMR at all.
But some academics say it’s not just the satisfaction of this brain massage that makes the experience so special. It may actually be good for something. A UK study says participants reported ASMR provided temporary relief for those suffering from depression and chronic pain, while others said it helped them deal with stress.
So yes, a lot of people find ASMR relaxing. Others find it horrifying. Or at the very least it freaks them out, like the Michelob Ultra ad featuring Kravitz did
In my household, it was found to be annoying, mockable, and just plain bizarre. But science says it works differently for different folks, so YMMV. So, what say you?