Is Music on Your Brand Radar? {Hint: It should be}

Phone.  Keys. Wallet….Headphones.

Is that you?

You’re not alone.  

A lot has been made of our addiction to our mobiles and how this is discouraging, rather than encouraging, social interaction.  

Yet maybe the real culprit is a 90cm wire and a couple of little speakers?

As an accessory headphones have become almost as ubiquitous as our wallet.  

Beats Electronics is a business that’s only eight years old, but Dr Dre has convinced millions of people to shell out hundreds of dollars to “let music lovers hear their favourite tracks exactly how the artists intended them to be heard”.  That headphone company — that accessory company — was bought by Apple in 2014 for $3bn.  

Headphones are big for a reason and just getting bigger.  

They are so prevalent that they’ve made getting off the bus quite a chore.

Ironically they’ve lead to an increase in non-verbal communication, for example, the “hey I’m talking to you” wave, the “excuse me” touch on the arm, and the “I’m going that way” finger point by runners.  They’ve closed us off from the audible world around us.

For the most part, marketing’s response has been to put more visual stimulation in front of us – hence the growth in mobile advertising and the almost limitless out of home formats we can tap into.

But are we missing the whole point?

Is music the channel?

I don’t mean radio, and I don’t mean festivals.  I mean the power of a song.

Many years ago, back when I used to buy CDs, I read some research that for TVCs with music tracks over 70% of consumer recall of the ad was attributed to the song.  

It’s a figure that’s consistent with the oft-quoted importance of what’s said in presentations, as opposed to what’s on the screen.   

Yet for most advertisers, music is a bit of an after thought.  A script directive:
                                           [loud rock music plays].

The right track can say a lot more about your brand than any voiceover.

Some of advertisings most iconic TVCs have ridden off the back of great soundtracks (Levi’s in the 80’s & 90’s, the Guinness ‘Surfer’ execution and Toohey’s Extra Dry Beer ‘Tongue’ to name a few).  

So it’s not surprising to see that Beats have recognised this in their own ads and used music to surpass the likes of Nike and Adidas in their sports advertising.  

What’s interesting about Beats is how they’ve used athlete endorsement to take their product to the masses.

In 2014 Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks lost his shit in a post game interview.  The same weekend his Beats ad with Aloe Blac’s ‘I’m the Man’ launched and made football fans all over the States want to buy some of the Sherminator’s swagger.

The visual beauty of advertising still seems to dominate client and creative thinking, but it’s not creating the complete picture.

I know of brands who have built Shazam campaigns into their TVCs only to remove the Shazam logo at the last minute because they didn’t want to ‘ruin’ the way it looked.  However as the campaign was already set up Shazam were able to register 10,000 organic tags of the TVC in the first week.

10,000 people who were emotionally engaged with the brand and God knows how many more had a little logo been included, but instead of going to their mobile site they slipped through their fingers.

So it begs the question; how are you using music as a channel?

How are you using it to engage your fans?

What’s the soundtrack of your brand?


Author : John Halpin, Strategist. Tinkerer. New music fan. Crap gardener. Beats headphones owner.