ThinkOTB Agency

How brands use music to make their marketing sing

September 30, 2015

Attracting the attention of an audience or potential consumer can sometimes be tough amongst all the noise of the marketing world, as organisations battled to be heard and make an impact on the marketplace. Yet one tool which often captures the hearts and minds of a consumer is the use of music as part of a marketing campaign. With its ability to tell a story and develop long-lasting associations in the mind of the listener, music can be a powerful component of a successful advert or campaign. This week OTB takes a look at some of the biggest and best uses of music in marketing by industry favourites.


While some brands choose to use music as simply the background track to their images, many have created their own music which has since become inseparable from their wider marketing campaign. And not always without consequences. This week Marketing Magazine published an article compiling ‘the 14 most infuriatingly catchy ad songs’, through which marketers have succeeded in cementing their tunes in the minds of consumers.

Marketing Magazine’s top picks include the 1990s “Chicken Tonight” jingle, in which an array of jumper-clad actors with perms and bowl cuts happily dance the chicken dance to ‘I feel like chicken tonight’, and Wall’s 1980s ‘Just one Cornetto’ advert which reworded the 19th century Italian classic O Sole Mio. More recent examples include Go Compare’s 2009 operatic advert, which raised the websites profile substantially and led (for better or worse) to the growth of an industry wide trend of music-led comparison site adverts for many a year to follow.


Although not technically a brand in the organisation sense of the word, the success of the James Bond brand and its effective use of music can generate important insights for the wider marketing industry. In the light of the nearing release of the latest James Bond film Spectre, The Drum has argued that the James Bond theme tune and its many accompanying hit songs are perhaps the greatest example of music as marketing.

The Drum argues ‘The films have a deeply ingrained sonic identity’ which is now not only associated with selling the films but ‘these days […] also sells watches, phones, fragrances, vodka.’ The association of the tune with all things Bond is a deeply engrained recognition that spans generations, and one which other brands would envy and seek to replicate. The Drum goes on, ‘James Bond himself is a franchise, a brand; and where you see a James Bond endorsed product, you’ll hear the characteristic ‘jazzy’ chords, surfer guitar and brassy stabs of the James Bond Theme.’


Engaging millennials with a campaign is often a marketer’s biggest challenge, as this fast-moving and ever-changing group of people repeatedly move the bar and increase expectations from their advertising. They are switched on, technology savvy and yet easily bored, and as such music has proved to be a useful tool in engaging them with a marketing campaign.

Recently Mashable argued exactly this, claiming that ‘Music is powerful because it is content, and it stimulates social interaction and drives loyalty.’ The power of music to connect on an emotional level is claimed to be one of the primary draws of using music to attract cause-driven millennials, who often expect far more of a brand than simply selling them their product. Lori Fieldman of Warner Brothers Records says exactly that, arguing ‘music has been at the centre of social change forever,’ with charitable organisations such as Amnesty International tapping into this notion to engage people with their marketing.


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