The power of music in brand advertising

The power of music in brand advertising

Music brings people together and makes us feel emotion – it can trigger memories and is an essential part of everyday life. 

The impact music can have on an individual has also made it an essential component in the advertising world.

Recall your favourite ad; did it have music in it? How did it make you feel? 

Now imagine it with no music at all, how different would your connection to the ad and relationship to the brand have been? As consumers – and as creatives – we are well used to watching and creating a 30-second advert – the one which tells us a story and takes us on a journey. 

Remember Cadbury’s drum-playing gorilla to the tune of Phil Collins singing: “I can feel it coming in the air tonight”? That track re-entered the charts and also became the chocolatier’s most popular ad. 

Set the tone

The right track in an advert sets the tone; therefore, choosing the right music that resonates with the audience is crucial for establishing the mood and relationship with the consumer. 

It’s not always going to be the track at the top of the charts which will be the best fit for your brand or message. 

In fact, if you chose a popular track, it may risk consumers remembering the song, not the brand. 

It’s far more important to use a piece of music that fits with your brand, and therefore your consumer. 

This should always be done at the beginning of the process of making the advert and should not be left as an afterthought.


Recent advances in sound technology allow for music production to have a stronger impact on human senses, elevating the power of sound to make us feel differently and change our mood. 

ASMR, or autonomous sensory meridian response, is a medical term that describes a pleasant emotional or physical feeling caused by soft sounds. 

It’s not a music format, but ASMR-related content is growing. 

Just search for ASMR videos on YouTube and you will dive into a mystical and sometimes baffling world of soft noises… that you can’t stop listening to! 

These tracks offer a higher level of immersion which can be added to advertising content to increase the impact on the consumer.

Two-second ads

Whilst advances in sound technology can help with immersing consumers and provide a deeper experience with a brand’s campaign, there have also been moves within the industry to combat the ever-dwindling attention span of consumers. 

It has been claimed that 2020 will be the year of the two-second ad as advertisers attempt to convey the most brand information in the shortest time possible, but where does music fit in? 

And how can creatives ensure the same emotional connection in two seconds rather than 30? 

The job of the music is to support the image and extend the emotion of the ad after the visual has disappeared. 

As a music producer, I always tell my producers that they need to capture their audience hard and fast. You can usually tell within five seconds whether a track is good or not.

Audio logos

We hear short tracks all the time with audio logos. Like all the best logos, a strong audio logo is instantly identifiable, memorable and incites an emotion. 

Netflix’s “Ta-dum” plays before you start watching any show on the streaming platform. Every time your brain hears it, it thinks “time to watch TV!”. 

There are companies now that make a business creating audio logos and audio branding, the aural equivalents to a graphic logo. 

Another iconic example is McDonald’s “ba da ba ba ba”, always followed by the “I’m lovin’ it” slogan which is still going strong after nearly 17 years. 

Two-second ads will accelerate this branding to new levels, where all brands will soon be encouraged to develop and create their own individual sound.

This challenge opens the door for new forms of creativity which musicians relish. 

The process will still be incredibly creative and will encourage musicians to think differently and work in new and exciting ways. 

It’s like junk food – a packet of Doritos is so addictive because they’re filled with ingredients that trigger something in our brain, so when they’re taken away, you’re left begging for more. 

That’s what the two-second ad is looking to achieve, and music will be crucial to their success, in equally the same way that music is for a 30-second ad.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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