In advertising, music can help attract viewers to the commercial and define the sonic identity of the brand. Music supervisors, brand managers, and post-production editors who understand the marketing power of music find creative ways to use music in advertising that surprises and engages viewers. Few things can accomplish this as well as music can.
These five ads from last December all employ strong music strategy to connect with viewer, yet each does it differently. The diversity of their achievements shows the many ways that music and advertising can marry for better consumer engagement.
1) “Listen in Color” for JBL, by Amusement Park
Song: “Bigger Than Us” by Damian Lillard (aka Dame DOLLA)
Audio electronics company JBL teamed up with creative content agency Amusement Park and NBA superstar Stephen Curry to promote its new Pulse 2 Bluetooth speaker in “Listen in Color.” Basketball player-turned-rapper Damian Lillard (aka Dame DOLLA), who released his first single “Soldier in the Game” in July, lends his voice to the spot with the song “Bigger Than Us.” The track was created custom for the ad, is available on iTunes, and will include an official music video that is due to drop in January 2016. In four days, the song has already been streamed 35,000+ times on the artist’s SoundCloud page.
2) “Present” for AT&T, by BBDO
Song: “You Are My Sunshine” by artist unknown
Sometimes, the most musically engaging moments in advertising aren’t so musical, as AT&T’s spot “Present” demonstrates. Created by agency BBDO and editing house Bikini Editorial, the ad is reminiscent of Appel’s 2013 spot “Misunderstood.” Throughout the ad, a subtle humming of “You Are My Sunshine” narrates the distance between a father and his phone-fixated daughter. The dominance of the tune over the family’s yuletide activities elevates the spot from a traditional Christmas ad into a poignant short film.
3) “Lily and the Snowman” for Cineplex, by Zulu Alpha Kilo
Song: “Follow You, Follow Me” (originally by Genesis) performed by Adaline
Like several other advertisers this holiday season, movie theatre operator Cineplex crafted a long-form animated that combines subtle brand messaging with a heartwarming, tear-jerking storyline. Created by agency Zulu Alpha Kilo and animation company Hornet, “Lily and the Snowman” depicts the touching story of a girl and her snowman and is set to the song “Follow You, Follow Me.” Originally by Genesis, up-and-coming artist Adaline performed a custom rerecord of the track, which Adweek described as “sung at just the pitch for eliciting sad, nostalgic and/or wistful feelings.” According to Next Big Sound, the artist’s mentions on Facebook jumped 2,200% after the video launched.
4) “Sports Alphabet” for The Bleacher Report, by barrettSF
Song: “Sports Alphabet” (remix of Alpha Aerobics) by Blackalicious
The digital media company Bleacher Report, which provides some of the most in-depth sports coverage and editorial, partnered with agency barrettSF and production company Gentleman Scholar for this colorfully animated spot. Visually stunning, the story of “Sports Alphabet” was strongest in the soundtrack – a remix of “Alphabet Aerobics” by Blackalicious, performed by Gift of Gab and Chief Xcel themselves. The hip-hop duo rerecorded the original with sports-related lyrics. The song was made available on iTunes and Spotify, and the project helped boost the artist’s Twitter following by 11,000+ followers in one week – which is saying a lot when their total number of followers is only 56,000.
5) “Auld Lang Sang” for Seguar Viudas Cava USA, by Naked
Song: “Auld Lang Sang,” performed by Eleanor Friedberger of The Fiery Furnaces
Segura Viudas, producers of European sparkling wine, or cava, enlisted the musical poise of songstress Eleanor Friedberger of indie rock duo The Fiery Furnaces. In the spot, Friedberger performs “Auld Lang Syne” on 1,000 glasses of Segura Viudas cava. Accompanied by keys and strings, the orchestral interpretation of the holiday classic gives the chic brand a modern sound.
By: Zach Miller, Music Dealers