According to David Huron in "Music in Advertising: An Analytic Paradigm" (Musical Quarterly, Vol. 73, No. 4  pp. 557-574), the purposes of music in ads are to engage a listener’s attention and to make the advertising message less of an unwanted intrusion. However, marketers and advertisers have realized that what we hear in ads is more important than just these purposes.
A particular song or soundtrack can be a big game changer for what consumers associate with a brand. Whether rocking, inspirational, or sentimental, music can change an ad’s mood and the way consumers absorb them.
Here are three reasons why choosing the right music is important for your ads.
A BRAND’S JINGLE CAN MAKE A MENTAL EARMARK
How many times have you sung the Oscar Mayer song? Or perhaps, the Meow Mix theme? These jingles have embedded their tunes inside our heads and into our lives, attaching themselves to not only products, but also to our memories.
Found in the jingle’s lyrical hooks, brands usually mention their name, product, and one or more advertising slogans. Jingles are known as a form of sound branding.
One of the longest-running commercial jingles is the 1974 Oscar Mayer song - “My bologna has a first name”. As an effective jingle, Oscar Mayer mentions their name and product in a short, catchy sing-along tune. Like many consumers, you may end up singing it from time to time.
Building upon the short, catchy jingles of the past, modern day jingles have inspired a better user experience, with higher budgets and more style. While still mentioning the brand and its advertising slogans, modern jingles have traded in the simple, easy-to-sing songs for more complex and ornate soundtracks and lyrics.
Wrigley’s Doublemint gum modernized their original 1960 jingle when they partnered up with Chris Brown to create “Forever”. Forever ended up not only being a hit for Wrigley, but also a number 2 Billboard hit for Chris Brown.
Another example is Oreo’s recent “Wonderfilled” anthem. From their Oreo cookie jingle “Oh Oreo” to their modern “Wonderfilled” anthem, Oreo has vibrantly connected with younger consumers. Paired with colorful cartoon images, Owl City, Chiddy Bang, and Kacey Musgraves sing different versions of “Wonder if I gave an Oreo to”. Upbeat and youthful, the “Wonderfilled” musical campaign encourages sharing an Oreo and your imagination.
Bringing together modern musical groups and the original 30-second jingle has inspired new ways for consumers to interact with a brand. Rather than limiting consumers to a short, simple tune on television or the radio, brands are now composing complete 3-minute songs that consumers can listen to outside the ad. Due to the catchy, sing-along tunes of jingles, consumers will continue to sing them for years to come.
POPULARIZING A SONG ADDS VALUE TO YOUR BRAND
Have you ever associated a song with a brand, or a brand with a song?
Breaking off from the 30-second jingle, brands are now taking songs (yet to be popularized) and popularizing them through their ads. Both the musician and the brand gain fans and awareness through this collaboration.
In 2011, singer/songwriter Yael Naim first hit the pop music scene with little success, but it was not until 2007 that her follow-up appeared - thanks to Apple’s Macbook Air commercial. Once the ad aired, both Yael Naim and Apple were met with success. Like Yael Naim’s story, Apple is quick to making musicians overnight success stories. The Canadian singer, Leslie Feist sold over 500,000 copies of her album and received four Grammy nominations after the iPod Nano commercial.
Brands also use already-popular songs to color their ads, as they know many consumers will enjoy hearing them. Chrysler’s “Imported from Detroit” ad enjoyed consumer enthusiasm when they used one of Detroit’s most popular rappers, Eminem, and his Oscar-winning song, “Lose Yourself”. Played during the 2011 Super Bowl, Chrysler stopped viewers in their tracks. Over images of the new Chrysler 200, a voiceover is heard over a dark vibrato that slowly fades into Eminem’s iconic song. By juxtaposing one of Detroit’s most popular songs to its automobiles, Chrysler emphasizes its dedication to its city and slogan: “The Motor City knows cars”.
In the process of popularizing or remarketing songs, brands attach themselves to songs, reaching consumers on both a musical and commercial level.
MUSIC’S MOOD SHOULD MATCH YOUR OFFERING
When walking into Macy’s “men store” and then walking into Nordstrom’s women’s shoes, you will encounter two different types of music. To ensure the best shopping experience for their customers, stores and their departments will play music to target the demographic, age, or gender of their shoppers.
Music has an important effect on a consumer’s mood, attitude, and behavior. Structural elements like melody, rhythm, harmony, pitch, modality, dynamics, and tempo all play a part in how music is perceived by consumers. Music should be carefully chosen when conveying a specific brand’s message.
SPCA excels in conveying their message on animal cruelty in their video campaigns with Sarah McLachlan. The video displays visuals of hurt animals while playing Sarah McLachlan’s slow, sad song “Angel”. Each soft, drawn-out note sets the viewer in a subdued state, making the visuals more impactful.
On the other hand, ads can excite you through music that is danceable and upbeat, such as in Heineken’s “The Switch”. Slow and mysterious at first, the commercial turns upbeat when he starts to pour. Without any words, the mix of sounds and music help illustrate Heineken’s message that its beer can change a boring, grimy bar into a luxurious party.
Music can also inspire you, like Coca-Cola’s “Let’s Go Crazy” campaign. Using Supertramp’s “Give a Little Bit”, Coca-Cola highlights the remarkable things people do for each other. Coca-Cola encourages the world to give a little bit, or perhaps just a coke.
Music has held an important role from entertaining consumers to increasing brand awareness. Whether your brand wants to convey a sad, happy, funny, or inspirational message, music has the power to take a consumer from one mood to the next. Music has powerful effects, so remember to choose wisely!