Music that Moves You: The Importance of Audio Advertising

Can you imagine if Star Wars opened with a light ukelele strum, or if Superman flew across the sky to some cheesy Muzac?

Both of these memorable scores have two things in common.  First, their composer John Williams is one of the greatest of all time, and second, anyone who has seen the films cannot separate the music from the visuals.

If you’re not properly using audio advertising to mesh music with your images, you are not going to create a memorable campaign for your consumer.

If their emotions are not stirred as your pictures and branding fly past their eyes, you might as well throw your marketing budget down the drain.

It’s vital that you realize how crucial music in advertising is to make your campaign successful.

Read on to find out how music moves you and your consumers.

Audio Advertising: More Important Now Than Ever

Your audience is being inundated with images in ways as we’ve never experienced before.

Each day 95 million photos are posted onto Instagram. As people swipe through their families and friends accounts, there is less and less cognitive space for marketers to catch attention.

If your campaign is placing videos on television, Youtube, or a streaming service, even the most jaw-dropping opening shot is going to just fade away as its just one of the 4000 ads people see each day.

Those statistics should definitely boggle your mind. So, what can you do to make sure your well-conceived, market-tested, gorgeous ad doesn’t disappear into our mind’s oblivion?

Great audio is more important now than ever to make your ideas stand out.

Music Tells Your Brain to Pay Attention

A research team at Stanford University closely watched brain patterns through an MRI while music plays.

What it found out was that music “engages the areas of the brain involved with paying attention… and updating the event in memory.”

What could be better for an advertiser than giving your audience a clue that this is the moment to turn on and tune in? By using music, you are letting them know that this is important stuff and shouldn’t be forgotten.

They also found that this takes place at moments of transition.

So, not only should music be included in your ad. It should be composed, edited or customized so that your most memorable moments get that extra pop.

Without adding that special sauce to the payoff moment in your commercial, you might be telling your consumer to pay attention to the wrong moment.

Music Helps Brands Tell Their Story

“[Music] can propel narrative swiftly forward, or slow it down. It often lifts mere dialogue into the realm of poetry. It is the communicating link between the screen and the audience, reaching out and enveloping all into one single experience.”
— Film Composer, Bernard Herrmann

Bernard Herrman helped create some of the most musical moments in our collective consciousness, such as the score to Psycho, Citizen Kane, and Taxi Driver.

He used his knowledge of music to draw us in and take control of our senses.

And this has been happening, long before Psycho’s famous shower scene.

Historically, music and storytelling have been interconnected since the days of Greek theatre starting in 480 BC.

There was always a chorus in Greek theatre that drove the point of a story’s narrative home.

Well over 2000 years over history should tell us that this is not a fad or a fluke.

The Silent Movie Test

To give an example of how music tells a story, imagine watching a silent film.

Even without dialogue, a few spooky chords tells the audience that a character is evil. A beautiful, uplifting melody can let you know that the two leads are falling in love long before they kiss. And a fast-paced tempo cues us in that an adventure or chase scene awaits.

If your commercial or video currently has dialogue or VO, you can perform this simple “silent movie” test to find out how well the visuals are working. Simply watch the spot with the sound off.

Is your spot connecting with you when all is quiet?

Often the team that is creating an ad has seen it so many times from conception to storyboard and eventually cut after cut. Over time, the feelings and message that the project is supposed to convey gets lost in the minutiae of client approvals, legal notes and all of the cooks in the agency kitchen.

When you add the voiceover back in, chances are you still won’t have the magic that you need to tell your story.

Now, pick out some of your favorite music whether it be classical, pop, hip-hop, soul or folk and play it along with your silent film. How does the mood change? How does the pacing feel?

After picking out a temp track that compliments your story, add the VO back in. Your dialogue or voiceover now have a bedrock to rest on.

It shouldn’t come as too much of a shock that music is so integral in storytelling, that many great editors cut their movies to great music even if that music won’t end up in the final product.

It is always a good idea to make a mixtape of 5 to 10 songs and lay them against picture before you start judging whether your spot is working or not.

Music Literally Can Literally Move You

Music is so interconnected to our brains that 90% of listeners have reported getting the chills while listening.

By showing that effect on the body, it ranks music up there with our environments most basic stimuli like hunger and fear.

You cannot argue with the importance of stirring up the body to get a reaction when creating an advertising campaign. If your potential customers are physically affected, be it tears of compassion or shivers down the spine, your video will be remembered.

The fact that listening to music can actually move your body is just another answer to the question, “why is music important?”

Music Affects Everyone’s Emotions

Music is one of the only phenomena that is evident in every culture, race, and nationality. Talk about a large demographic.

Malini Mohana has called music the “language of emotion.”

She describes how music is interpreted by the brain as a perceptual allusion.  As our mind tries to create order, we take pleasure when we can guess where a piece of music is going.

Skilled composers like the ones mentioned before can manipulate and surprise our brains by throwing little twists and turns as our mind tries to figure out the musical journey.

This little dance that our brains do with music forms a repeated cycle of expectation, anticipation, and reward as we hear chorus after chorus in pop music or variations on a motif in classical.

As our body knows that these stimuli are not threatening, music is processed as pleasure each time we experience these little payoffs.

Essentially, providing good music along with your video production is like handing out some candy over and over throughout your presentation. Isn’t your audience going to appreciate and remember you for that?

Custom Music Is Key

While all of the above give a solid argument for including music in your advertising, the best gift you can give your advertisement is a customized piece of music.

Music that is customized can be original work made just for your company, a piece of stock music edited so that it highlights different moments in your spot or a famous song that has been arranged, edited or rerecorded to work with your video.

Your music should match your product and be arranged in such a way that your dialogue or voiceover is not conflicting with a guitar solo or orchestral fanfare.

To start your quest for the right pairing, it’s always a good idea to create your own mix of songs that you like and use them as temp tracks while you work. 

You might not be able to license the Rolling Stones, Start Me Up like Microsoft for your explainer video, but a good video production team should be able to connect you with a great composer or music library that is affordable and can make sure you are taking advantage of what music has to offer your advertisement.

If you do have the budget to use a memorable song in your advertisement like Microsoft did when it released their Windows 95 software, you have basically purchased an emotional connection to your audience before they have even seen your video.

That’s almost like cheating.

It’s a No-Brainer

Music can help you tell your story, stir up emotions, even run chills down your spine. 

Taking advantage of audio advertising just makes sense.

The next time you start your video production, arm yourself with a playlist of great songs or orchestral pieces and use them to propel you toward a fantastic product that will connect with your audience.

If you are looking for a team of experts to get your project across the finish line, contact us to find out more about creating a memorable video.

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