Why Is The Music For Adverts so Important?

July 30, 2020

Why is the correct music for adverts so important? Well, I bet if you try and recall 3 of your favourite adverts, they all contain music. Furthermore, I bet that the music in these ads is why you remember them. I know I’m biased because I work in the music for adverts industry but let’s take my top 3 ads as an example:

  1. Levi’s – Laundrette (1985). No doubt the older generation (sorry!) of advertising folk remember this ad fondly. The famous BBH ad contains a re-record of Marvin Gaye’s ‘Heard It Through The Grapevine’ – a certified classic which completes the ad, no doubt.
  1. Guinness – Surfer (1999). This Guinness ad was ground-breaking at the time, both for its CGI and use of electronic music, namely Leftfield’s ‘Phat Planet’. This track was designed to represent “the sound of the blood in the surfer’s head when he’s on the waves and he knows he could die”, according to AMV’s Walter Campbell. Well, it certainly does that.

  1. Apple – Meet iPhone X (2017) – Probably not the most well-known ad in the world, but it’s one of my favourites. The music is perfectly in sync with the visuals, even the Apple Animojis are singing along to the track! I love it.

Using good music for adverts is so important for several reasons. Crucially, it takes the brain 8-10 milliseconds to process sound vs. 20-40 milliseconds for visuals. With human attention spans shortening, it’s important to grab the viewers’ attention as early as possible through audio. This is particularly relevant to online advertising, on YouTube for example, where the tendency might be to ‘skip ad’. Furthermore, the beauty of good music for adverts is that, if the music is good and you see the ad again, you don’t even need to be watching it to know which brand it is. This is even more important when you consider the fact that during a typical TV ad 24% of all viewers are in the room but are not looking at the TV.

Good music for adverts is also crucial because music is also an emotional short-cut. Sound communicates at a non-rational level and it’s these kind of communications that are the most powerful and persuasive. As adam&eveDDB’s Head of Effectiveness told us at An Evening With Bob, “music is a tremendously powerful emotional force, and the core of brand building in advertising is really emotions. Emotions and getting people to feel things about a product, company, and brand.” There’s a reason most brands have tried to copy John Lewis’ Christmas ‘SADvertising’ (although it was nice to see brands such as IKEA and Argos think outside the box last year).

Listen to more from Les Binet in the latest soundlounge podcast

Using good music can win you an award at Cannes, increase the effectiveness of your advertising, and save you money. It’s a no brainer, right?

soundlounge has been working in the music for adverts industry for 30+ years. Get in touch here with any music supervision and sonic branding queries.

music for adverts

music for adverts