The Music or The Message?

I got an email this morning from one of our young Planners. I felt quite honoured, so I'll let his email tell his story (I haven't changed the spelling!).

Hi Andrew,
This may be slightly presumptuous of me. I wondered if you might let me write a guest blog post?
Just ‘scribbled’ this down this morning, please let me know what you think.

Adverts on the radio intrigue me. I listen to the radio to and from work everyday. Recently I have heard many classic christmas songs gruesomely turned into adverts for all manner of things.

This is nothing new. But I noticed (and this may just be me) that instead of absorbing all the wonderful things an advert was telling me about the product, service or company, I heard the music and instead of the message, my brain diverted to the memory I attached to the music.

This is surely not good for the product, service, or company. So I started thinking about music and advertising in general... Not just on the radio but the tv too. Do people remember phil collins over dairy milk? Billy joel over john lewis?

Ok so one might say, well that’s good in the long run because when people hear ‘in the air tonight’ they will think of dairy milk... But will they...
Surely a person’s own memory of a song, attached over time or from an experience (that holiday, that party or that summer) is far more powerful, more poignant than a 2 minute advert?

The most effective music used in advertising doesn’t detract from what is actually being advertised, it compliments.The music should not dominate, compensate for or undermine the product, service or company. Remember the bouncing balls sony bravia advert... It was the first time many people had heard jose gonzalez... He did very well AFTER that. The new yeo valley adverts are the music, yes divided in opinion but how often do you find a jingle being sold on itunes?!

What am I trying to say here? Well, people’s memories are very powerful things, unique, personal and hugely influential in decision making. Using ‘lazy’ big tunes gives people one thing... a look back at their own life, a nostalgic buzz for the brain, a distraction for minds that struggle at the best of times to really engage in advertising.

So next time you watch an advert or hear one on the radio, be aware of where you are taken – is it the music or is it the message?