How the Music in Your Advertising Affects Your Brand

How the Music in Your Advertising Affects Your Brand

Commercials for Apple’s iTunes gave critical digital exposure to bands like The Black-Eyed Peas.

“Isn’t that Adam Levine singing in that Bing commercial?”

“Sure sounds like Maroon 5. But I’m not sure.”

“Man, I love that song. Do you have Shazam or Soundhound on your phone?”

Music identification apps come to the rescue, and that pulsating, intense pop song trying to attract a certain user demographic to Microsoft’s search engine is not “The Voice’s” Levine; it’s Alex Clare singing “Too Close.”

And while that song may not wrench you away from Google’s spell, it does lend a certain coolness quotient to the ad when heard underneath a montage of services and features enabled by the search engine.

Reams of copy have already been written about the intersection of music and advertising; about legendary artists like Barry Manilow, whose careers were launched writing TV commercial jingles; and how a smartly written, bouncy song from past television viewing habits can rev up our personal Wayback Machines.

Ad-related music can indeed give our faces something to smile about (Stridex), help us teach the world to sing (Coca-Cola) and can make us wish we were hot dogs (Oscar Mayer).

Yet the most effective commercial earworms—those jingles that rattle around in our heads until we either surrender or commit ourselves to hospitalization—aren’t just catchy tunes: they also make sure we know what the sales pitch is. In Subway’s case, a certain seductive jingle lets us know just how much one of their footlong sandwiches costs in a challenging economy ($5).

And it does so again and again and again – all in the same song.

The same art/commerce mashup happened in the first few years of Apple iPod commercials, which had so many viewers inquiring about their songs that the company ended up listing them on iTunes. That gave critical digital exposure to bands like The Black-Eyed Peas, Feist (remember “1,2,3,4?”) and Jet. The music and product—both cutting-edge, stylish, quirky—meshed perfectly.

It’s not just rap, pop and rock music being appropriated for commercials. The latest ad where people are trying to lose/break/have their smartphones stolen so they can buy a newer, fancier model? The classical piece on the soundtrack might ring some bells:

“Dude, where have I heard that music before?”

“It’s from that movie ‘Eyes Wide Shut.’”

“Oh yeah.”

(Pause)

“Isn’t that the movie where Nicole Kidman gets naked?”

Whether found music or original compositions, the songs behind ads are vital parts of brand storytelling. They have to share consistency of tone; you wouldn’t use rap music to sell dentures (unless you truly are trying to look like a “Saturday Night Live” skit). And they have to strike the perfect balance of melody and message. Those that do can hit all the right notes with consumers.

CI-Group, a New Jersey advertising agency, provides digital marketing and advertising consulting to Fortune 2000 companies in a wide range of industries. Founded nearly 30 years ago and based in Whitehouse, N.J., CI-Group is recognized as a top advertising agency specializing in marketing strategies, event marketing, promotions, direct marketing, digital printing, warehousing and fulfillment. Companies seeking an award-winning interactive agency that merges creative strategies with effective tactics should call 908-534-6100 or visit www.ci-group.com.

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