Most of us can agree that we are nearly constantly bombarded with advertisements. Drive down the street, you’ll see billboards. Flip on the television, you’ll see commercials. Power up your laptop, you’ll see ads. Walk through the aisles of Target, you’ll see logos and labels screaming “choose me! buy me!” Screaming. Our world seems to be noisy–very noisy–all the time.
It’s only in the moments of solicited solitude that we can find white space, breathing room, clarity. UK department store Selfridge & Co. has decided to change this by introducing a variety of well known products…sans the noise…sans the labels, a quiet room within the store, and free online meditation courses.
Yes, you can actually buy these well-known products without their famous labels! Pretty strange, huh? They do seem quieter. Boring almost. Visual identity is such a hugely integral part of a brand that these label-less versions don’t feel authentic to me. Each item pictured above typically represents a strong brand and visual identity. By simply removing the worded labels, the entire brand seems to lose value. I see a small jar of cream, yellow lotion, headphones, and ketchup. Not Creme de la Mer, Clinique, Beats, and Heinz.
Not only has Selfridge & Co. “silenced” these products, they’ve also muted a variety of clothing and accessories, as can be found on their charming No Noise Website (you’ve gotta check it out!). Additionally, each department store is now equipped with a quiet room as shown above, where customers can take a break from the noise and energy of our world.
The company has taken their newfound investment in quiet outside of the context of their stores as well. Through a partnership with Headspace, the modern meditation experts, Selfridge & Co. offers a myriad of tips on silencing our world…everything from keeping the “noise” at a minimum while shopping to finding peace during a work commute. The company is even offering free online ten-minute meditation courses so that people can get themselves some headspace!
As someone who appreciates space and silence, I find this initiative intriguing. I’m wondering what the company’s ultimate goal is…I’d venture to guess that by standing alongside their customers and gently leading them to purchase instead of yelling (literally or figuratively), Selfridge & Co. will gain respect, loyalty, and profits. On the No Noise website, the “why” is answered as follows:
As we become increasingly bombarded with information and stimulation, the world is becoming a noisier place. In an initiative that goes beyond retail, we invite you to celebrate the power of quiet, see the beauty in function and find calm among the crowds.
I may be halfway across the world, but I’m on board with this celebration of quiet. I’m interested to see how the initiative turns out for the department store.
What do you think? Had you heard of the No Noise initiative? Would you purchase the label-less products?