Advertising and branding inspiration from New Zealand and the world. This is where envy and admiration collide.


20 February 2012

Music and advertising - a perfect partnership

"Apple has proven that every time a iPod is created, an indie band gets their wings"~ Taylor Magenheim, Buzzfeed writer (via. Mashable)

While at Wellington's Homegrown festival I noticed certain songs have been well and truly hijacked by the brands who have used them in their advertising. Examples included Op Shop's One Day used by NZ Post, Tiki Taane's Always On My Mind used by BNZ, and The Feelers Stand Up which was used in the 2012 National Election Campaign. It's impossible to listen to these tunes without having the brands and ads pop into your head.

But why? Studies dissecting music’s effect on consumers suggest that songs — more often than not — positively influence responses to advertising. The right song choice can influence how long a person watches a commercial and sway them into buying what’s in the ad.

But it works both ways advertising has also been known to launch music careers and repopularise tracks. Here's a few examples of songs that were rocketed into the charts by advertising:

1. Sony Bravia - Jose Gonzalez "HeartBeats"

2. Coca-Cola's Hilltop - The New Seekers - "I'd Like to Teach The World To Sing"
The story goes that this famous 1971s advertising song was created after the advertising guy on the Coca-Cola account (Bill Backer of McCann-Erickson) was flying to London to meet up with Billy Davis a music director who was hired to write radio commercials for Coke. On the way he observed a group of angry passengers who were delayed by fog, however brought together by a shared experience (and over a bottle of coke) they were quickly laughing together. This lead to song about teaching the world to sing, which was built around buying the whole world a bottle of Coke! 

The song was created specifically for Coke's advertising but once released Coca-Cola Company received more than 100,000 letters about the commercial and many radio stations received calls requesting the song. The song become a top ten hit and sold more sheet music than any other song in the past ten years. Coca-Cola donated the first $80,000 royalties to UNICEF under an agreement with the writers.

3. Mitsubishi Eclipse - Dirty Vegas "Days Go By"

Dirty Vegas' debut release was the single "Days Go By". It originally made the top 30 in 2001, but when re-issued in 2002 reached the UK top 20.

4. Levis - Babylon Zoo - "Spaceman" 
Levi ads have been long associated with music and launching careers. An early example is Babylon Zoo, after appearing in this Levi ad their track Spaceman went straight to the number spot in the UK. It stayed there for 5 weeks. The track also went to number 1 in 23 other countries and was at the time the fastest selling single for a UK debut artist (via Red Marketing).

5. Apple iPod - Jet "Are you gonna be my girl?"

Like Levis, Apple has a long history of launching music careers. One of the first acts that really benefited were Australian rock band Jet. Their tune "Are you gonna be my girl?" was the audio for Apple's infamous dancing silhouettes iPod commercials. Jet sold 3.5 million copies of their album "Get Born" on the back of this exposure.

Mashable has comprehensive list of Apple's commercials that have launched music career.

6. Apple MacBook Air - Yael Naim "New Soul"
The little-known French-Israeli singer-songwriter was instantly elevated from obscurity when her song "New Soul" was used to score this spot for Apple's MacBook Air.

“Music creates a certain mood, feeling or association within consumers you want to reach” ~ Jessica Page, marketing manager, Exfm

Advertising doesn't just launch unknown artists, there's also numerous cases of records reentering charts after featuring in ads. Musicians often enjoy a second round of popularity also. There's obvious advantages for using music that's already well known. Known songs lend advertising the emotions already connected them, the artists' existing reputation and even society's feelings in the era it first released.

Take for example Nike's use of "Revolution" by The Beatles. When the song was first released the flower power movement was in full swing. The song's content and the historical context perfectly supported the advertisement's storyline of rebellion and change.

This lead the way for brand's to adopt popular songs, before this musicians often denied rights to brands. The twist in the Nike case was that The Beatles never granted permission to Nike and the original recording company Apple Records was against its use. However the rights were purchased for US$250,000 from Capitol Records who owned the North American distribution rights. Regardless the advertisement implied a nonexistent connection between the brand and band, an invisible line that hadn't previously been crossed.

8. Cadbury's drumming gorilla - Phil Collins "In The Air Tonight"
A recent and very well-known example of a song regaining popularity through an advertisement appearance is Phil Collin's "In The Air Tonight". Famously it was played by Cadbury's drumming gorilla in this ad...

Music provides an opportunity to be more social with TV advertising
Given the ability of music to create powerful emotional connections with advertising it's a logical move that social media apps are now allowing us to download this music. Apps like Shazam give brands a unique opportunity to offer free downloads songs used in advertising. Having your ads song on a customer's playlist is a pretty powerful way of staying top of mind! Here's an example of how brands are using Shazam to extend their advertising efforts.

Old Navy Shazam Campaign 

Old Navy has built it's entire campaign around the integration of music and fashion. The brand created four new songs and built TV commercials around them. Viewers are encouraged to download the tracks using the Shazam app but are also given information about the outfits featured. This app listens to the TV commercial when activated and directs the user to a download page. The first single "Super C.U.T.E" has over 2.5M views on YouTube.

I guess you could say Shazam is the audio equivalent to a QR code on a print ad. It's the perfect platform to create engagement and offer value to the consumer. With the glut of advertising and the changing TV viewing habits of consumers it's critical that brands utilise new technology like Shazam to encourage engagement and stronger recall.

In New Zealand the only example I've seen so far is the Cornetto "Big Softie" ad. I imagine we will start to see more Shazam logo appearing though. Also the app Pluk which also 'listens' to ads and provides users vouchers and discounts has reached 38,000 downloads in NZ so the integration of TV and smartphones looks about to explode here.

Have you tried Pluk or Shazam? Would you download an advertisement's song?

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