In a recent blog about the psychology of colour in branding, we looked at the role colour plays in online and written branding communication, but what about the role of music in marketing and advertising? Have you ever noticed that sometimes when you hear a song you think of a specific brand or product? Or how about when you find yourself humming a particular tune long after an ad has ended? Why is that?
It’s about what you don’t see.
Look around. As a society, we are completely overwhelmed by brands and their visual trademarks. Today, logos not only define a particular brand, they also create a definition of the people who associate with them.
Consider Mac and PC – more than just two operating systems, they represent the completely different lifestyles and mindsets of their users (cue actor Justin Long in his casual jeans and hoodie “I’m a Mac” vs. John Hodgman in his bland grey business suit “… and I’m a PC”).
Marketing – and more specifically, advertising – depends just as much on what isn’t said, as what is, to convey meaning. And music is vital to meaning making.
Film is one of the greatest examples of using music to portray meaning and emotion. Consider this – your heart rate quickens, your eyes widen and you feel a rush when listening to the fast-paced drums behind an action scene. Or, you relax as your heart flutters in joy as you swoon at the orchestral violins at that moment the boy (so unpredictably) finally gets the girl. But what if the music was reversed? How would your emotions be effected.
The same thought process behind applying music to a movie scene applies to advertising. What is advertising, if not a mini movie – or mind movie if it’s radio advertising – aimed at inspiring emotional responses towards a particular product or brand?
If you’ve ever stepped foot in a business or marketing class, you’ve probably heard of the 4 P’s of marketing – product, price, place and promotion – that guide traditional marketing campaigns. But in today’s tech-savvy, advertising-aware world, you need to consider the 3 E’s. That is, the factors of emotion; experience, engagement and exclusivity that guide the use of music in branding and form the reason it’s so powerful.
A research study by WPP and Universal Music, titled Bands & Brands, found that 61% of consumers studied agree that music makes them feel different physically, 85% agree that it can change their mood and 88% agree that music reminds them of special places in their past.
So why is music so prevalent – and necessary – in advertising?
Just listen to these three examples of an ad put together for a regional radio station and you’ll see how the music changes the mood.
- Audio Player
- Audio Player
- Audio Player
Needless to say, we chose to run with number 3. Why?
Well, we didn’t want people to be 1) distracted and rushed or 2) waiting for something to jump out and scare them. Rather, we wanted people to feel upbeat and just a bit more relaxed after hearing the ad, like help was at hand.
So, while music is often considered an after-thought in the creative process, it is clear that a great soundtrack can add impact, and therefore effectiveness to marketing efforts and advertising campaigns.
If you’d like help to make sure your advertising hits the right note, we’d love to help. You can give us a call on (02) 9994 8005 or drop us a note.