3M Dives into “The Deep End” at SXSW to Share How Sound Impacts Overall Well-Being
Mar 22, 2019
Have you ever wondered why the repetitive sound of a drumbeat can inspire, while the noisy buzz of a factory line can annoy? You may not realize it, but our bodies constantly respond to the sounds around us, sometimes in ways we aren’t even aware.  

This was the theme at 3M’s experience at Vox Media’s “The Deep End,” a three-day long immersive experience (from March 8-10) at the 2019 South by Southwest (SXSW) festival. The Deep End, which took place at The Belmont on Austin’s historic 6th Street, allowed festival-goers to take a deep dive into trending societal topics, ignite curiosity and drive meaningful connections with SXSW attendees.

“Sound is one of our five fundamental senses. It’s worth paying attention to,” said David Gries, 3M Acoustic Expert.

In fact, studies show that silence brings profound benefits, such as helping us calm our minds, focus better, be more creative and have time to reflect. 

With SXSW being one of the busiest festivals of the year, “The Deep End” was an ideal setting to provide visitors with a tangible way to experience how 3M’s acoustic solutions help create quieter environments.

360° Branded Experience

So, how did 3M and Vox bring this experience to life? By allowing festival visitors to experience the impact of sound firsthand through a series of touchpoints. One of which included the “Experience Sound” Quiet Booth – a unique physical space for people to experience the contrasts that noise, silence and music bring. Enhanced with 3M acoustic solutions, the materials lining the inside of the booth were representative of the many ways that 3M science works to manage noise vibration and damp unwanted noise in various areas of our everyday lives, such as in electrified and autonomous vehicles, aerospace, appliances and construction.

The quiet booth was a silent escape amidst a noisy environment. The goal? To help people better understand the value of a quieter world. 

The activation also included interactive demos showcasing intriguing ways to experience sound, while explaining how 3M acoustic solutions work to minimize noises around us and help protect our hearing.

“Arguably the best aspect of sound is communication, and that’s what we spend a lot of time thinking about when we’re working with acoustics,” said David.

Finally, the impact of sound volume was put into context for SXSW attendees through an interactive visualizer, which contrasted the decibel level of a person’s voice against decibel levels of common, everyday noises – such as the sounds we hear from vacuum cleaners, typical conversations and concerts.       

On Saturday, March 9, David participated in a panel with Joe Posner, Head of Video and Executive Producer at Vox, and Dr. Mike, Physician and Health and Wellness Social Media Influencer. Their discussion focused on the impact of silence, music and noise on overall health and well-being.

“Ultimately, it’s important for everyone to be aware of the sounds around us, and to take a moment to wonder about how else we can improve the sound quality of our environments,” shared David.

Nearly 6,500 guests visited The Deep End, and several hundred people participated in the “Experience Sound” activation each day at SXSW.

To learn more about the science of sound, visit Science, Explained. To explore other ways 3M Science impacts daily life, visit wonder.3m.com.

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