The Audio Ad You Can See

The Audio Ad You Can See

CLIENT: Royal Australian Navy




Less than 1% of the Australian population is suitable to work in navy intelligence. How do we find and attract them for highly skilled positions in the Navy?


VMLY&R and Defence Force Recruiting worked with Squeak E Clean Studios to hide a secret image in sound. To reveal the message, the audio must be processed in a spectrogram, a tool that analyses frequencies in the electromagnetic spectrum. It’s used in sound production to repair background noise, crackle, hums and glitches. It’s also used by the Australian Navy to intercept, analyse and identify threats at sea.

Creating the hidden image was a unique collaboration between audio production and design. While the audio needed to be crafted for an image, the image needed to be crafted for audio. Every element was tweaked with meticulous precision to make sure a balance was struck between clarity of the audio and clarity of the image. This was essentially a manipulation of the electromagnetic spectrum, which is exactly what some of the Navy’s intelligence personnel do every day.


Whilst most people failed the test, some didn’t. “The Audio Ad You Can See”, the world’s first recruitment message hidden in sound, generated 80x more engagement with job listing, making it one of the Navy’s most successful campaigns.


more engagement with job listing