Beyond the big-budget ads of The Super Bowl, there were plenty of advertisements featuring great music strategy this month. With Spring right around the corner, culture-savvy brands are using music to snap audiences out of their wintry slumbers and engage in something more beyond their bed. From registering for college to training like Olympians, the songs in these top 5 most musically engaging ads of February are synced specifically with consumer engagement in mind.
1) Samsung “Unpacking Samsung”
In this almost trippy reminiscence of the innovations of cell phones past, Samsung celebrates the many different mobile devices it has released over the years in the 90-second spot, “Unpacking Samsung.” Milestones like the first 3G call from Everest and the release of the Occulus Rift are revisited in these awesomely shot ad, scored with the song “Figure It Out” by Royal Blood. With no voiceover and carefully sourced VFX, the song steers the spot and creates a bedrock of excitement for the brand’s tech advances.
ECDs: Carlo Cavallone and Stuart Harkness, 72andSunny Amsterdam
DOP: Manel Ruiz, 1st Ave Machine
Editors: James Rose and Jack Singer, Cut+Run London
2) Under Armour “Rule Yourself”
As featured in USA Today and in time to begin seeding attention for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Under Armour’s latest ad “Rule Yourself” stars the members of Team USA Women’s Gymnastics in killer form. Eschewing both VO and VFX, the film instead relies on the hardened dedication of the Olympians, as well as the music that narrates their training. The shape of the story completely shifts because of the song. Set to M.I.A.’s 2013 alt-dance track “Matangi,” “Rule Yourself” becomes an exclusive behind-the-scenes into the ceremonies of the Olympian’s regimens that feels as ethereal as it does inspiring.
3) The Grammys “Witness Greatness”
Cast with citizens of Compton, “Witness Greatness” is a rousing testament to the come-up, to the hustle, to recognizing where exactly greatness begins before it ends up on a stage like The Grammys. “All my life I had to fight,” the people recite from the song “Alright” from Kendrick Lamar’s Grammy-nominated album To Pimp A Butterfly, while native sounds of the town echo behind them, and gradually upbeat snare rolls and a smooth saxophone melody join the cacophony of voices. Finally, Lamar joins the crowd and, in unison, they chant the chorus of the rapper’s anthem – a perfect transition into The Grammy’s tagline, “Witness Greatness.” By diving into the story behind the music, and taking time to tell that story in a compelling way, The Grammys used music to elevate the real people that inspire greatness onto the Grammys stage themselves.
ECDs: Brent Anderson and Fabio Costa, TBWA\Chiat\Day
Head of Production: Nicola Westermann, Alldayeveryday
Editor: Sam Ostrove, Cut & Run
4) Clinique “Play with Pop”
In a first of its kind interactive video, which runs inline with smartphones through separating audio and visual components and then resynchronizing them in the browser (and other super smart people things of technological advancement that we don’t want to understand), Clinique created an awesome experience with its campaign “Play with Pop.” As viewers watch the music video of rising Swedish pop singer Zara Larsson’s ne song, “Lush Life,” they can toggle through different remixes, without lag or buffer, based on lipstick type. There’s four different remixes, including “Vixen” to “Bold Country Red,” all of which feature the same singer performing the same song, but in completely different genres – highlighting how one woman can don drastically different personas depending on the lipstick she selects.
Creative: Wieden + Kennedy
Post-Production: Final Cut
5) University of Phoenix “More Than Brains”
Many continuing education and online college programs highlight life after graduation in their advertising – swanky suits, opulent offices, etc. In “More Than Brains,” University of Phoenix opted instead to celebrate the students who persevere through their hectic day-to-day schedules of parenting, waitressing, farming, and even breastfeeding. The montage of day-in-the-lives is set to a custom song “More Than Brains,” a branded spinoff of the Wizard of Oz tune, “If I Only Had a Brain.” With a breathy voice reminiscent of Regina Spektor, New York-based Roarke performed “More Than Brains” to wide internet acclaim. According to music analytics site Next Big Sound, the budding indie artist has since gone viral on the web, with a median growth of 296.9%. The mounting attention provided a perfect opportunity for Rourke to release a new song two weeks after the ad aired – “1 Month” – further extending the relationship between University of Phoenix and consumers through the brand’s awesome use of music in its marketing.
ECDs: Eduardo Marques and Rafael Rizuto, 180LA
DP: Joost Van Gelder, The Corner Shop
Editor: Steve Gandolfi, Cut and Run
Music Producer: Sara Matarazzo, We Are Walker