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Sensum 3 minute read
December 1, 2016

The sound of music: why is it so effective in advertising?


The History of Music in Advertising

Since the 1930s, music has been a core part of advertising. Using jingles and specially composed songs in their earliest adverts, companies such as P&G were able to link their brands with distinctive musical tunes and create commercials that are still spoken of highly today. For examples, check out the top 10 jingles of the 1950s here… definitely a way to brighten up your day!

From jingles to pop stars

When the cost of original music copyright dropped considerably in the 1970s, the type of music in commercials start to change. Coca-Cola, arguably one of the most credited brands for effective musical advertising, initiated the use of original music in TV and cinema advertising with their hit “I’d like to teach the world to sing” by the New Seekers in 1971. Various brands followed in their footsteps, including Microsoft who featured the Rolling Stone’s “Start Me Up” in the Windows 95 advert, because they understood the power music can have on our emotions as well as on our buying decisions.

We’re still seeing brands continuing to invest in working with popular artists now. Here are a number of artist music focused adverts that have caught our eye (or should I say ear) over the year:

- Sainsbury’s Official Christmas advert ‘The Greatest Gift’, with James Corden’s song ‘The Greatest Gift for Christmas is Me’ set to reach no.1 in the charts

- M&S food advert released in October, starring the fabulous tune ‘Rather Be’ by Clean Bandit ft Jess Glynne

- Our most recent favourite, Sony’s 2016 Full Glitter Balloon Advert that features the classic song True Colours


Are the big names worth the investment?

With companies nowadays spending between seven to ten million pounds on their musical advertising campaigns, an important question comes to mind: is it worth it?

According to the IPA findings, it certainly is! Research shows musical ad campaigns are 27% more likely to report large business effects compared to non-music campaigns. What’s more, it has been found that a well-fitted song in an advert can:

- Increase attention

- Enhance an advert’s chance to be noticed and understood

- Stimulate positive moods

- Create positive associations between the brand and the song (through classical conditioning)

- Enhance key brand messages

- Influence intention and likelihood to purchase

- And undoubtedly the most important to marketers… increase sales!


While the use of popular artist’s music can be costly for advertisers, the statistics above prove that it can be totally worth the investment!

Don’t worry… the music story isn’t going to stop there. In part 2, we will discuss the relationship between music and our emotions, and take a look at previous studies we have conducted that show interesting insights into how different styles of music can cause different types of emotional responses! So stay tuned…(excuse the pun).