The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Does B&O Stand For Bloody Ordinary …
August 6, 2014, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

Back in 1976 [I think] my Dad bought a Bang & Olufsen television.

All I knew at the time was:

1. It was so expensive, my parents had spent a month thinking about buying it.

2. It was our first colour television.

3. It was the first television with wireless remote control in our town.

4. Everytime it was turned on, my parents would exclaim, “Look how good that picture is”.

Over the years, I learnt more and more about who company was.

Their innovative approach to audio visual entertainment.

Their commitment to design excellence.

Their obsession with detail.

Simply put, B&O were Apple before Apple.

But just like that wonderful company from California, things changed.

Their attitude to excellence didn’t … but their level of innovation did.

Of course, some of that is because the category they were in had reached some sort of plateau … but also it’s because they missed some big trends, meaning they had gone from leader to follower.

I still love B&O.

I am emotionally bonded to them because of my past.

But nothing upsets me more than seeing them make products like this.

Look at them … they’re bloody hideous.

OK, so they were a ‘special edition’ for the World Cup [which shows how topical this blog is, ahem] but that still doesn’t excuse how bad they are.

And what the hell are they doing an association with Pepsi?


Have they honestly fallen that far down the desirability ladder that they need to whore themselves out to a soft drinks company?

They don’t even talk about sound quality?

I appreciate they may need to appeal to a younger audience … I appreciate brands like BEATS have shown how they can associate themselves to categories that previously few would have ever associated with music products … but this all feels like a brand on its knees, begging to be liked but ultimately signing their own death warrant.

I want B&O to do well.

I know they still make great products.

But to whoever out there is advising them, they’re putting them on the fast track to obscurity because if you don’t stand for something, people will end up falling for anything.

32 Comments so far
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I would still prefer these to a pair of beats. They’re not as ugly and I bet they don’t make the music sound nearly as bad. I’m sure Baz would agree. ;

Comment by Pete

But I agree the Pepsi link is strange and it undermines their credibility.

Comment by Pete

B&O in 1976? In Nottingham? They must have thought an oligarch had moved in to town before anyone knew what an oligarch was.

Comment by DH

Yeah, what is your view on beats Baz?

Comment by DH

You do know Beats are a client of mine don’t you Pete? I could test that statement by offering you a pair for your listening pleasure. Do you want to take me up on it?

Comment by Rob

So you’re getting freebies from Apple without Baz? I’m impressed. I’ll take you up on that challenge. Send them to the usual address.

Comment by DH

you deal with more fucking blag than arthur daley on minder.

Comment by andy@cynic

B&O in 1976? In Nottingham? They must have thought an oligarch had moved in to town before anyone knew what an oligarch was.

Comment by DH

You’re right … except it cost us so much money, we ate Asda own brand baked beans for months. That is not as much of an exaggeration as you may first think.

Comment by Rob

Few questions.

1) if that’s art, they are blind.
2) why didn’t they start with “music” rather than put it last.
3) there is no third question.

Comment by DH

4) who cares.

Comment by Billy Whizz

My questions are top grade investigative reporter.

Comment by DH

There’s something wrong with your blog Rob. I mean something wrong beyond what you write. Every time I post it says there’s an error but the comment turns up anyway.

Comment by DH

That’s a built-in comment assessment algorithm.

Comment by john

Unfortunately it appears my comments also fail to reach their standards then.

Comment by George

And this is supposed to upset me for what reason exactly? Ha.

Comment by Rob

my fucking comments go right through. it recognises taste when it sees it. but if this is new wordpress tech shit, how the fuck do they let campbell post his bollocks?

Comment by andy@cynic

Financially, they are on their knees, but dumbing down in an attempt to capture customers who they hope will subsequently trade up isn’t the answer. Just dilutes everything. Didn’t help Burberry pre-Ahrendts and it won’t help them.

Another company who seem to think that legacy is backward-looking rather than speaking to solidity from which they can grow and by which the customer can be reassured.

Comment by john

Good point John. Legacy is a tricky beast but I still believe it is something that carries value rather than being a dead weight. It is, as with everything, all about how you use it and I would suggest B&O start embracing it.

Comment by George

I agree … I also think the category dictates how overt you can express your legacy, but without doubt, it’s a strength [when used properly] & if you have it, I think it’s madness to not use it.

Comment by Rob

Have you read the copy? Using words like “remixed” makes it sound like Pepsi wrote it. I agree B&O are a great brand but this sort of marketing activity doesn’t make them relevant to a new audience, it just alienates their current. Disappointing.

Comment by George

I loathe the b word and I bet that back in the 70s, your parents never used it. If anything, they probably talked about or were asked what “make” their television was.

It’s a much better word for marketers to focus on.

Comment by john

You loathe “brand”? It’s not the fault of the word, it’s the definition given to it by marketers. Though “make” would be much better and more real world.

Comment by George

See Baz comment above.

Comment by DH

doddsy talks more sense than any fucking planner on here. but so does a drunk $2 crack whore in need of a fix.

Comment by andy@cynic

I hope one day, someone says that about me. And I’m not even joking!

Comment by Rob

You’re underplaying your abilities Rob.

Comment by DH

B&O has BO.
Do you see what I did there Rob?

Comment by Wayne Green

Unfortunately I do Wayne. Ha.

Comment by Rob

It certainly doesn’t help that the headphones they’re advertising there are a slightly updated version of a product designed in 1983 – the Form 2. It’s emotionally and physically depressing.

Comment by Kelly Rupp (@kpr_)

I didn’t know that Kelly … that is definitely depressing … though there are also a lot of products out there that are simply ‘updated’ versions of products from long ago. That’s not a defence of B&O, just an acknowledgement how depressing and illusionary ‘innovation’ often is.

Comment by Rob

[…] from a past time, but when I compare it to many of the print ads – actually, scrap that, ads in general – that get put out today, I can’t help but feel we should be looking to the past for […]

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