The Science of Music

We Can Shut Our Eyes But Not Our Ears…

Our emotional and physical response to music often defied logic. ‘Dad dancing’ on its own stands testament to the truth of that.

It’s a primal, visceral reaction at the very heart of what makes us human. It can create and evoke powerful memories, change our mood and even our behaviours.

Research has shown that we hear when we’re not watching. We hear even when we’re not listening.

In a world where ‘advertisements are now so numerous that they are very negligently perused’ (Dr. Johnson nailing the problem way back in 1759), keeping consumers ears tuned-in when their eyes are distracted elsewhere, is an important and powerful weapon for any brand.

Music’s ability to render us putty-like in the hands of influencers was recognised by no less and authority than the US Federal Court:
‘…the intrusive nature of sound, combined with repetition of impressions over a long period of time, cause the message to be permanently embedded in the long-term memory of the recipient, causing a real and significant potential for change in beliefs and behaviour.’

Now ‘intrusive’ is a bit of a negative word and that paragraph was used to justify the ban of cigarette advertising on US radio in 1971 (which we’re not denying was probably the right call to make), but it still reinforces our point.

Music is incredibly powerful for communications. Science and experience show us that it has the power to engage us in ways that imagery simply can’t.

Music based advertising campaigns are more likely to move brand metrics and deliver positive business results (Havas Group; Meaningful Brands Study)

‘Music can increase attention, engagement, talkability, memorability, enjoyment, and forge positive associations between brands and songs.’ (Radiocentre: Strike a Chord research study 2015).

But music in advertising is of course nothing new.
What is new is the environment in which brands are now competing. Technology is galloping at breakneck speed, leaving shiny new must-have media channels in its wake, each with an insatiable appetite for content.

Brands attempt to control this potential chaos with all manner of visual guidelines and templates, but all too often, what the brand sounds like is cast to the winds.

The same disciplined approach is required for audio. Aligned with a brand’s values, personality and vision, every sound, voice and piece of music that the brand creates, should be born out of a clear strategy.

With audio resonating consistently across all channels and markets, consumers will not only recognise the brand with their eyes, but also make increased sense of it with their ears.

And if you still need convincing about the power of music, just remember those dads the world over throwing shapes on the dance floor.