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The front of a red TUCSON plug-in hybrid with its parametric headlights on against a purple background.

Hyundai × WhisperAudios ASMR – Creating an ASMR soundscape with the TUCSON

4 minute read

ASMR – what is it and what does Hyundai – a mobility solution provider have to do with it? Read on to find out what ASMR is, why it’s important to us and how we, together with ASMRtist Charlette Hastings, created our very own ASMR video using the all-new TUCSON Plug-in Hybrid.

What is ASMR?

Coined in 2010, ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) is a relaxing, often sedative sensation that begins on the scalp and moves down the body. Also known as “brain massage,“ it’s triggered by soothing sights like waves or bubbles and sounds like whispers and crackles.

Even though ASMR has been a well-known phenomenon for the past 12 years, there is little research about what it actually is and why some people are more affected by it than others. However, it is one of the top 5 most searched keywords on YouTube and there are millions of “ASMR“ videos out there. ASMRtists (ASMR artists) and enthusiasts swear by it as it relaxes them and helps to reduce anxiety, stress, and insomnia.

A woman running her hands across pink fabric in the TUCSON. She is wearing cream-colored silk pyjamas.

Who is affected by ASMR?

When it comes to ASMR, not everyone gets the tingles from these frequencies, and these sensations change from person to person. While some may not feel it at all, others may have completely different ASMR “triggers” than others. Some of the most popular ASMR inducing sounds include rustling noises, whispering or the sound of water and waves.

Hyundai and ASMR

What does Hyundai have to do with ASMR you might ask. Well, cars are increasingly becoming an important third space for us to relax in and, as electric engines take up less space than combustion engines, we have more space to play with. So, we’re reimagining the interiors of our cars for the future.

Inspired by this, we decided to jump on the ASMR trend to see how we could use the new TUCSON Plug-in Hybrid to create a virtual in-car experience which is calm, relaxing and leaves viewers with a good feeling.

Side view of a red TUCSON plug-in hybrid covered in feathers and bathed in a purple light. ASMRtist Charlette Hastings is standing next to it and running a large white feather across the hood.

To bring our ASMR video to life, we teamed up with ASMRtist (ASMR artist) Charlette Hastings. She has been making ASMR videos since 2013 on her channel – WhisperAudios ASMR and has more than 170,000 subscribers.

In December 2021, Charlette flew over to Berlin from the UK and joined us in the studio. We then spent 2 days exploring the various ways that we could make ASMR sounds with the TUCSON Plug-in Hybrid.

ASMR for sleeping

As many people search for ASMR videos in the evenings to help them wind down, “we came up with the concept of winding down for bed and getting ready to sleep for this video,” says Charlette.

Dressed in a silky satin pyjama set and white fluffy slippers, Charlette used various props which are associated with a bedtime routine – like toothbrushes, cotton pads and feathers to create a series of relaxing sounds both inside and outside the TUCSON.

Close up of a pile of white feathers.

Shooting this film with Hyundai was honestly one of the most special and memorable experiences I have had in all of my years doing ASMR. CHARLETTE HASTINGS

Creating an ASMR soundscape

We decided to open the video with a shot of the TUCSON bathed in soft pink light and feathers falling softly down onto it from the sky. We also realized that walking on the feathers created a very satisfying noise, so it made sense that Charlette should walk towards the car in her slippers.

She also explored the sound that came from running a large ostrich feather around the hood of the car and onto the door. We were also keen to incorporate a lot of the TUCSON’s sounds. We loved the soft click of the car door opening, the ‘thunk’ of the trunk opening and the swoosh of the wing mirror swivelling into place, so we incorporated all of these into the video too.

Making ASMR sounds

Inside the car, Charlette tapped across the dashboard and all around the navigation system. She ran her fingers around the sleek leather steering wheel, she gripped the steering wheel, and made a scrunching noise as she slowly pulled her hands backwards and pushed them forwards. She also turned on the air conditioning and increases the fan speed.

To take this even further, we added colorful streams of paper to the fans so that the noise would be accompanied by the soothing sight of the paper blowing in the wind.

There were so many different sounds which sounded amazing inside the car. CHARLETTE HASTINGS

Pushing the boundaries

“We wanted to push the boundaries both audibly and visually to create something unique and very relaxing,” says Charlette, so the team played with some new props and added some different ASMR sounds.

At one point near the end of the video we hear and see the windows winding down. But then, we watch as a balloon gets stuck inside the window with a gentle squeak. Charlette then brushes the surface of the balloon with a toothbrush which makes an interesting scratching noise.

My favorite ASMR trigger is the sound of rain hitting the top of the car. CHARLETTE HASTINGS

Recreating raindrops

For Charlette, one of her favorite ASMR sounds is the sound of rain hitting the top of the car and she really wanted to include this in the video. In fact, many people find this sound particularly soothing as rain makes a regular, repetitive pattern and the brain perceives it as an especially calming noise.

Making it rain inside a studio is very difficult, so we recreated the sound of raindrops by pouring water beads onto the car, which “worked out better than rain because the water beads made a really intense sound on the car plus they looked really cool when they fell from the sky and hit the windshield and the bonnet,” says Charlette.

After filming had wrapped up, Charlette said that “shooting this film with Hyundai was honestly one of the most special and memorable experiences I have had in all of my years doing ASMR.”

She said it was especially fun because “Hyundai really wanted to make a film that was true to what ASMR meant and that viewers would have a pleasant experience watching and take something positive away from it and I think we achieved just that”.

Feeling relaxed? Follow Hyundai’s Instagram(@hyundai) to find out more about how we’re reimagining the interiors of our cars.


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