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Rashi Goel

Oddly Satisfying is The Online Equivalent of Popping Bubble Wrap

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Unless you have been on a social media detox for the last few years, you’ve probably come across videos of soap cutting, slime crunching, pressure washing, or marble cake glazing.

Satisfying GIF by reactionseditor
Source: Google Search

They mesmerize us and we watch them as obsessively as we pop bubble wrap in real life.

art illustration GIF
Source: Giphy

Just watching these videos, without actually doing any of these activities gives us a feeling of satisfaction, which is so odd. That’s why the term, Oddly Satisfying!

As of writing this newsletter, there were 3.2 million posts under the #oddlysatisfying hashtag on Instagram.

While Memes (read the previous edition on memes here) are meaning-dense and capture the pulse of society, Oddly Satisfying videos hypnotize and relax our collective unconscious brains.

In this edition,

I look at this trend and explore why it works.

I also share examples of how traditional and new age brands are creating Oddly Satisfying content to drive desire and purchase.

Feet Cringe GIF by TikTok

Neurological mirroring

Oddly Satisfying videos are a form of the autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) trend. ASMR videos trigger a tingling sensation through sounds and tactile sensations.

Dr Anita Deák, a psychology professor thinks that one of the reasons why these videos relax people is because of a neurological phenomena called mirror neuron theory. When we see someone performing an activity, mirror neurons fire a chemical reaction that makes us feel as if we are doing it ourselves.

So we get the same pleasure from watching Oddly Satisfying videos as if we were actually cutting soap or marbling a cake ourselves. They work as a form of micro therapy and relax us.

This reminds me of a cute modern day “I Love Lucy” type sitcom, Dharma and Greg. A happy-go-lucky hippie Dharma and an uptight corporate lawyer Greg, get married on their first date. And a series of interesting adventures ensue.

In one of the episodes, a famous rock star visits Dharma for help because he is feeling burnt out, weary, and his creative flow is blocked. Dharma puts him to work on household errands. He cleans the house, does the dishes, scrubs the floors…. and he is cured!

Washing Dishes GIF by Angry Birds

Scrubbing, washing, rinsing, cleaning are offline ASMR activities. Through these, we get engrossed completely in the present moment. They tire our body out and the rhythmic movements and sounds engage our conscious brain. This quietens our monkey mind and relaxes our unconscious brain so that it can replenish its creativity and get back into the game.

And need I even mention, the ROI of all this effort in the form of sparkling clean and fragrant dishes and floors is anyway oddly satisfying!

Therefore, Oddly Satisfying videos replicate offline experiences have an immersive meditative effect.

This is the feeling of a job well done that hygiene and cleaning brands can focus on. Dyson does it very well.

Dyson Dust

Before Dyson invented his extraordinarily powerful vacuum cleaner. Vacuum cleaners came with a bag that hid the dust and debris.

When we vacuum with Dyson, we can actually see the amount of dust from one cleaning session, and that feels soooo satisfying.

Infact, Dyson shared on a Tim Ferris podcast, that he and his engineers debated whether to have the dust in full view. They decided to go for it, because they found it satisfying to have the cleaning effort visible to them.

Support and How to Guides for your Dyson V11™ Vacuum | Dyson Australia

Cleaning brands can learn from Dyson and showcase the process of cleaning (using their product) in a high quality ASMR way, and the end result (dirt cleaned off).

Branded Oddly Satisfying videos are only successful if they create a bigger shift within the consumer – heightened desire and purchase. There are enough inspiring examples for this.

Food product communication is Oddly Satisfying

Well made food brand videos have traditionally been Oddly Satisfying, even before the trend existed.

Lurpak Butter advertising is as ASMR as it gets. They use audio, and spectacular visuals that really get inside the cooking process and make even me want to start cooking.

Chocolates lend themselves to beautiful renditions of this trend. There is no way you won’t crave chocolate after watching this Easter adventures ad.

Will it blend?

Blenders are boring. But Blendtec became an internet sensation through their “Will It Blend?” campaign.

Tom Dickson, inventor and founder of Blendtec, shows off the prowess of his blender by blending anything and everything. Even things that are not mean to be blended.

In this video, we see Tom blend Amazon Echo close to Amazon Prime Day.https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/NpP3rrNoEqo?rel=0&autoplay=0&showinfo=0&enablejsapi=0

I just wish they could blend away The Pandemic. Sigh.


Consumer tech brands have user-generated unboxing videos whenever a new product launches.

unwrapping high heels GIF by MOOT

Walter Issacson quoted Jonny Ive, “Steve [Jobs] and I spent a lot of time on the packaging. I love the process of unpacking something. You design a ritual of unpacking to make the product feel special. Packaging can be theatre, it can create a story.”

unboxing an apple iphone
Source: Packhelp.com


I had written about the Insurance industry disruptors, Lemonade. Their highly addictive social media pretty much follows this trend, where they post videos of dipping anything and everything in Magenta Pink!

Check out that newsletter edition here.