Music in Marketing and Advertisement
Why is music so important in marketing and advertisement and what strategies are there to use it effectively? The influence of music on our moods, emotions, perceptions and preferences is often more present than we consciously experience. The psychology behind the mechanism of how music effects us are still not understood entirely. Nonetheless, they can be used in advertisement and commercials to sell a product or achieve a desired outcome.
In the following, I introduce you to the most effective ways to use music in marketing and advertising. Additionally, I bring in examples in form of a video to illustrate the effect that it has and to let you consciously understand it. I suggest that you watch the videos without music at first. Then unmute it and watch it again to recognize the difference!!!
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1. Music attracts attention
In the era of media platforms like YouTube video and audio is available in sheer abundance. So why would someone still watch a commercial if you have the option to close it after a few seconds and watch one of the million other videos that don’t want to sell something?
You might still watch it if it catches your attention right away and makes you damn curious. I noticed that many of the commercials that are displayed before a video on YouTube use the few seconds they have for sure to attract the viewer’s attention quite purposefully.
One way to accomplish that is through music.
- You could either play a song that your target group likes. It will be more likely that they stay to listen to it.
- On the other hand you could build up tension through a crescendo or some other musical devices. We are trained through so many years of music listening that it almost hurts to listen to musical tension without experiencing the resolution of it.
- Lastly, you might choose to use music that contradicts or conflicts the video and therefore arouse curiosity.
2. Music adds quality
Watching a video that is accompanied by music, on the one hand you focus on the congruences between the video and audio, like tempo of events or association between a setting and sound. On the other hand, you also add the quality of the music to objects in the video.
A good example for that are car commercials. Often car advertisement is accompanied by classical music. The reason for that is that the musical qualities of classical music like high standard, good quality and maybe calmness or safety now stand in association with the car.
3. Music evokes emotions
As I explained in a previous article about the seven mechanisms that evoke musical emotions, music, in many ways, has the potential to arouse emotions. In Advertisement, this emotional response if repeated many times can lead to conditioning.
My favourite example is the Christmas Coca Cola commercial. All your positive Christmas emotions of excitement and thrill of anticipation are now connected with the brand Coca Cola. Bam!
4. Music communicates a message
There are countless ways to communicate a message through music. Non-verbally, you can express yourself through tempo, melody, harmony, instrumentation, articulation, expression, clichés or music genres. Verbally, you can use lyrics to convey what you want exactly.
5. Music overcomes barriers
Music is a universal language. Imagine you are in China watching television and the commercial break is coming up. What you don’t understand: What the hell they are talking about. What you understand: The message the music and the pictures convey. The music is vital and vivid. The product must be vital and vivid. The music has rebellious distorted guitars in it. The product stands for teenage youth and rebellion. You get the point.
The barriers might also consist of age and knowledge differences. Your grandparents might not know what the iPad is for exactly but they will grasp the value and status in our society of it through listening to the music and watching the video of its commercial.
6. Music improves memorization
Through various experiments it is shown that congruences between video and audio lead to a better remembrance of information and impressions. Beside that, a jingle that is sung with a catchy melody rather than spoken increases the ability to memorize it by far.
7. Music heightens absorption
This goes hand in hand with point number one. In our current form of civilizations we are overwhelmed with information and impressions everyday. In consequence, it becomes harder for us to really focus on one thing at a time.
Sound in contradiction to visual impressions is not dependent on a direct visual connection. Being in hearing distance you can almost not avoid to listen to it. For commercials that is surely a positive aspect as part of the message is communicated even without visual impressions. Furthermore, music ensures continuity whereas our eyes jump from one point to another.
These two aspects and the ability to arouse emotions give music the ability heighten absorption. Watch the following video without sound at first. Notice, how the visual impressions alone are not able to immerse you in the story. Then turn on the audio and feel the difference.
This article is inspired by
Handbook of Music and Emotion: Theory, Research, Applications
by Patrik N. Juslin (Author), John Sloboda (Author)
Check out the table of content to get an overview of this field. This books goes in depth into the mysterious field of music and emotions in the context of film as well as other fields of applied music.
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