The Power of Music in Advertising

Last Thursday the Bow Street fourth floor space saw a phenomenal takeover from brand and advertising music MVP, MassiveMusic, courtesy of The Gate. Senior Music Producer Jonny Beck and his team delivered an interactive session talking us through MassiveMusic as a company and diving into the importance of music within the industry; hearing their thought process and reasons behind what they do was like music to our ears (fittingly accompanied by a string of actual music to our ears along the way). There were innumerable key takeaways from the workshop, but if you really wanted them narrowed down… 

1. The power of music and sound. 

What’s actually that important about it? After watching a Southern Comfort advert that was muted to silence, it was fun to take on a sound experiment to see how the music that went alongside it could change the entire narrative. The sweet man enjoying his holiday turned from radiating an electric, fresh-off-the-plane vibe to suddenly melancholic, mourning the loss of his pet while strolling along the beach, all with just one turn of the sound dial. It was pretty amazing to see just how far music can carry the mood, whatever the situation.

2. There’s always a musical solution. 

MassiveMusic broke music down into three parts for us; the story, response and identity that stand at the heart of the brief. The musical solution for storytelling fast-tracks an emotional response from the audience, as demonstrated by the Southern Comfort ad experiment. The response is the recognition of the sound used, using aspects like the speed of the music to convey how your audience responds to the message of the advert. 

We were also shown the brilliant Sound of Rum campaign for Bacardi, for which music was created using only the sounds produced from rum cocktail making. The response saw not only a lot of people loving the song itself in the press and on social media, but also created a buzz around delivering a memorable campaign through the power of sound. Finally, the identity aspect comes from associating a particular piece of music or sound with the brand itself. Who doesn’t whistle the McDonald ‘Lovin it’ tune, as soon as they see the golden arches?

3. Sonic branding. 

Feeding off the back of the ‘identity’ musical solution, how many sounds would you hear and immediately associate with the brand it comes from? Probably a lot more than you’d initially think. And we’re not just talking about annoying jingles from insurance adverts that get stuck in your head for hours, but specific sounds that are tapered to represent your brand. Sounds that you become accustomed to hearing and instantly recognise where they come from. The fitting Twitter notification, for example, is not a ‘nice to have’ addition to branding, but an essential part of the brand experience.

4. The make-belief brief. 

As demonstrated by getting us to choose the most fitting music to accompany a Magnum advert they worked on, MassiveMusic soon made it clear that you can’t just throw on any old smooth jazz track and expect it to evoke the emotions that are expected from the ad itself. To properly grasp the brief we have to go back to the core basis of how the advert is meant to make you feel, and then question how we translate these emotions into music. Not only that but the visuals, sound effects and pace at which the advert wants its emotion delivered all play a huge factor in creating that ideal end-product, simply briefed as the ‘perfect’ audio fit.

MassiveMusic’s ethos to help brands and creatives tell their stories through the power of music, with the ultimate goal to simply make the world sound better, is hugely exciting. So the next time you set your eyes on a brief, make sure your ears are fully tuned in too.