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Dolby: The History of Sound

Dolby partnered with PR to “bring its brand to life” around two major milestones – its 40th anniversary and its IPO.

While the Dolby brand is loved and respected around the world, the full impact of its technology was not common knowledge. Dolby is an ultimate “ingredient brand,” with its worth being defined by the added value it brings to those products that incorporate its technology.

Strategy

  • Bring new definition to the Dolby brand and “move it up the sizzle scale”
  • Design an anniversary program that re-energized its key entertainment product and services channels, instilled pride, built affiliation among its global employee network, and supported a successful IPO

Execution

We discovered that Dolby technology played a role in furthering some of the most important innovations in entertainment:  Dolby’s 8-track made Sgt.  Pepper possible, and its Surround Sound enhanced the Star Wars soundtrack. 

To bring this information to light, we worked with the San Francisco airport’s Museum Group to create 24 display cases that told the story of Dolby, getting the world’s leading entertainment brands to donate beloved memorabilia, placed side by side with the Dolby technology that made it possible. In a stroke of genius, we named the anniversary year NOT “the history of sound” but rather “The Sound of History” – and showed the world conclusively that our entertainment experience has been indelibly enriched by Dolby.

We drove this exciting new branding through a series of channel and employee gatherings around the world during the anniversary year, bringing the Dolby sizzle into the New York Stock Exchange on the day of its IPO – by ringing the famous bell in Dolby Surround Sound.

Results

The results far exceeded Dolby’s expectations. Millions of people around the globe learned about Dolby’s heritage through media and special events. Over a nine-month period, more than 10 million people visited the airport exhibit, which still stands as its “most popular ever.”

PR’s efforts were long-lasting: Dolby’s sizzle as “The Sound of History” helped support its entry into new digital offerings, and it had a highly successful IPO.

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