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The unsung hero of advertising
1st February 2018
Throughout our 12 years in business, we have worked with a range of clients on advertising campaigns and brand communications. Here, we discuss the impact music has in advertising.
Great music is something everyone understands. Whether it’s the catchy pop song that you can’t help singing, the rap you don’t really know the words to (but still give it your best shot!) or your favourite movie ballad– music forms part of most people’s everyday lives.
When it comes to advertising, if a brand wants to build a connection with the consumer it’ll more likely be successful if there’s a strong feeling or emotion evoked by the music that accompanies what’s on the screen. The wonderful thing about music is how it can trigger an emotion, memory or tell a story. It sets the tone and course of the advert and makes you feel what it wants you to feel, which is why it’s such a powerful tool. We consciously listen to music that evokes emotions that we want to feel in a given moment - for example, having a playlist with upbeat songs to get us in a motivated mood at the gym - and music in advertising uses that same psychology. Brands must consider their target audience, and the message of the advert needs to feed through to the music. How do you want viewers to feel? Emotion is so powerful, it’s important to get it just right.
Music also enhances the recall for a product, even if the emotion evoked by the advert isn’t positive. In branding and advertising, success is defined by impact. It’s hard to make a lasting impression on a consumer within a short timescale, but if you can hook them with a jingle that they’ll sing for the rest of the day, then you’re maximising your ad spend. Go Compare is the perfect example: it drives most of us insane but whether we like it or loathe it, the brand is burned into our brain and we bet it’s front of mind when you need a comparison website.
Studies show that adverts with some form of music perform better across four metrics - creativity, empathy, emotive power and information power. So, it makes sense that most creatives take time choosing the best song to fit their advert, making sure the rhythm of song and advert are in sync and that the choice enhances the brand or experience they’re looking to create. Choosing a song purely on popularity that doesn’t match the theme of the ad, just wouldn’t work. Look at retail giant John Lewis: their Christmas ad is now one of the most anticipated adverts of the year, and we’re just as eager to hear the song as we are to see the story. For the last five years, the department store’s Christmas advert song has entered the charts, proving that people do pay attention to the music!
The purpose of advertising is to persuade your audience to do something and to do this effectively, you need to appeal to their emotions. Though big brands are known for their products and services it’s the experience they create that builds loyal consumers and brand advocates – and music plays its part in that. So, next time you’re watching the ad breaks or at the cinema, pay attention to the adverts and see how you react to the music. We bet you feel something as the brand tries to win you over with their musical calling card!