The Role of Music in Advertising

Good jingles are catchy, informative and have the beguiling ability to ingrain themselves into your memory for life. Surely you can recall the Oscar Mayer theme song: “My bologna has a first name…” That tune taught millions of Americans how to spell a very tricky word.

Sometimes great jingles don’t even need lyrics. Take Meow Mix Cat Food. “Meow, meow, meow, meow. Meow, meow, meow, meow. Meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow.” That’s all it takes.

However, modern advertisers have started to move away from jingles and towards full-length songs. They are increasingly featuring tracks written and performed by recognized musicians, which is a win for all involved. Viewers enjoy the commercials more, artists get massive exposure and advertisers create a better brand image.

Here are three different ways advertisers have used music to create effective, memorable commercials.

As one of many elements.

Remember the commercial for Yoplait that involved a yellow polka dot bikini? Of course you do, because it used the incredibly catchy 1960’s song “Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.”

This ad for Bing featured the little-known song “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers. The spot catapulted the band to pop-folk stardom.

As the driving force.

The famous Apple iPod campaign consists of dancing silhouettes and a brightly colored background. It’s genius in its simplicity, relying solely on the high-energy music to send the message. No text or speaking necessary.

 As a stunt.

Although this never aired as a commercial, the official music video for “Needing/Getting” by OK Go and Chevrolet has 25 million views on YouTube. The video shows the band performing the song by hitting musical instruments with their car.

As part of an interactive online campaign, Coca-Cola produced this music video of Kurt Hugo Schneider and Kevin Olu using Coke bottles to cover an Of Monsters and Men song.

Whether for background noise or as the main feature, Challenger Brands can use music in a wide variety of ways. The right song can provide your ad with the boost it needs to go from ordinary to spectacular. We hope these examples inspire you to raise your commercials up an octave.

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