Music in advertising
There are those that stay in our heads for days, those that we add to our playlists of the moment, those that end up annoying us so much we heard them or those that become hits... what is certain is that music, and especially those that advertize, rarely leaves us indifferent.
Stories, images, faces; one might think that these elements alone are the essence of advertising. But that would be without counting the power of music. The power to transcend us, to transport us and why not to transpose us into a brand universe.
Because if the advertising has the music in the skin, the music, it, sticks to the image that the advertising wants to give itself.
If it is proven that music has beneficial effects on the body, for example by reducing the heart rate or breathing, it is especially on the cognitive level that it is the most interesting, especially for brands.
But, you may ask, what is the point for brands to pay so much attention to music, when they are not supposed to play it?
First, because according to many neuroscientists, music has such a positive effect on the brain that it generates oxytocin, the hormone of trust and attachment. And what better way for a brand, especially when we know that transparency and authenticity are the values most expected by consumers in 2021, than to generate preference and attachment. Finally, isn’t this what all advertisers dream of generating, attachment, by creating campaigns?
Creating attachment is probably the biggest challenge for brand managers, and it is not always solved on TikTok… But still?!
Moreover, at a time when the rate of engagement is undoubtedly the most watched KPI, shouldn’t we rather look at a calculation of the rate of attachment?
This is precisely where music can come into play, because according to many scientists, it has the incredible power to make us prefer one brand over another and even to make us act.
But music also has this capacity to mark the minds and to make remain in our memories of the advertisements, sometimes during years.
It is for example the case of an advertisement that only those over 20 years old can know. One of those which rocked the ears of many children and was hummed in the playgrounds of schoolchildren in the 90s.
Sironimo ad, 1991 – Love Is All by The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast
At the time, it was the Pernod Ricard Group (the brand was later sold to Teisseire) that used the timeless song Love is All to launch its new syrup brand, Sironimo. A catchy rhythm, easy-to-remember lyrics, the right recipe to make it a (commercial) hit.
In an atmosphere that is sometimes gloomy, isn’t generating pleasure a mission that brands could finally take on?
"Life without music is simply a mistake, a fatigue, an exile", Nietzsche.
Create emotion through moments of life.
If we cannot always please everyone, we could judge that an advertisement is “good” on the simple fact that it does not leave indifferent; and it is undoubtedly there its strongest common point with music.
Joy, surprise, sadness, fear; so many emotions that advertising can arouse in us, and which would not be as strong without being carried by some musical notes. Because if advertising can sometimes do without words (or almost), it can hardly do without emotions.
“Creating emotion” is a moto that resonates all the more at Sweet Punk, to the point of making it “our standard, because without it, no commitment is possible”.
Music can therefore be an integral part of the brand identity. It’s not surprising if we even talk about sound identity. For example, what would our train journeys be without the sweet voice of Simone Hérault, who has been the voice of the SNCF since 1981.
To convey emotions, but also to project moments of life. A tendency that we could find in advertising where actors and deep scenarios are mixed with a music that would easily bring tears to our eyes.
La Redoute “Two Brothers”, 2021 – True story Black Dog
In another style, La Redoute uses a music called “true story” to talk about true stories, those of moments of life in which everyone could project themselves.
When music plays the leading role.
If music inspires directors and enhances images, it also inspires creative people to the point of sometimes giving birth to concepts.
This is for example the case with this ad for Cheetos, unveiled during the last Superbowl, in which Shaggy, artist of the 2000’s is staged.
His title, It wasn’t me, is even parodied, becoming the main line, proclaimed by any person accused of having eaten the entire package of Cheetos.
But precisely, what is the best strategy to adopt: revisiting old songs to dust them off or playing “talent scout” to reveal hits?
On the one hand, using a “hit” can benefit brands because the melody is already well anchored in people’s minds and it potentially speaks to the largest number of people: from the vinyl generations to the Walkman generations, via the MP3 and streaming platform generations.
On the other hand, collaborating with a new artist and finding new talent can give the image of a brand that innovates, that is in the air of time. Creating a new territory, without associating with an existing collective imaginary potential can also change the perception that one may have of the brand.
In 2015, for example, Carrefour launched its “J’optimisme” campaign using the Lilly Wood And The Prick track Prayer on the C, which would then get the crowds dancing for many summers.
But if the opportunity is great for young people, not all artists accept to associate their image with a brand.
In the last issue of Society dealing with the separation of Daft Punk, we learn for example that the helmeted couple has always refused the solicitations of brands, even the biggest like Disney, although they will end up collaborating with the latter on the soundtrack of the film Tron Legacy.
TikTok or the new musical trendsetter?
Another player has entered the dance to put artists in the spotlight: TikTok. It’s not surprising that the logo of this video-sharing application evokes a musical note, because without it, TikTok would not be TikTok.
It allows its users to choose musical tracks to make choreographed challenges, among a rather vast catalog since since February 2021, it includes for example all the artists present under the Universal label.
TikTok has also signed agreements with two other major record companies: Sony Music and Warner Music Group, as well as with Merlin, a network of independent labels. This will delight both its users, who have a plethora of choices to dress up their video creations, and the artists, whom TikTok guarantees to pay the best for the use of their tracks on the videos that are published.
A win-win deal?
At first sight, yes! Except that, when we know that TikTok can largely contribute to the success of a song, and therefore of an artist, the winners, and fortunately, are indeed the record companies and their artists.
Thus, singers like Megan Thee Stallion or Doja Cat were among the most viewed on TikTok in 2020 and 176 songs, including Cardi B’s WAP, have reached the billion views on the platform.
It almost makes you wonder about the chicken or the egg question, because who is ultimately advertising whom? TikTok that of the artists, or the artists that of TikTok?
And above all, wouldn’t the magic recipe for success and notoriety be, for the budding artists, to think about the potential use of their song on TikTok?
Creation, punctuated by music?
Is this going to end up changing the creative process, both in the way of composing and producing? What is certain is that this new way of consuming music gives it an ever more important place in our uses and in our way of consuming content.
With more and more content, especially video content, music should keep a prominent place in creation, maybe even the first one?
The latest Schweppes campaign, which unveils its new brand signature, uses the title I like it Like That, which are the only words spoken in the spot.
If for a long time music has been the poor relation of advertising, large-scale campaigns have also given it a place of choice. This was notably the case with the film “La passage” directed by Michel Gondry, which literally made Asleep from day “the Air France music” and which carries incredibly well the poetic and dreamy dimension of the promise “To make the sky the most beautiful place on Earth”.
Air France “Le Passage”,1999 – The Chemical Brothers – Asleep from day
Starting from music as a source of inspiration to imagine an advertising concept or relying on music to sublimate it, the musical and creative paths tend to meet, mix and harmonize to give the right tempo to the creation.