Are you paying enough attention to the music in your advertising?


Whether it’s on TV, radio or online, music is an important component of any advertising campaign, and for good reason.

Music has been used in advertising since the 1930s, with songs and jingles leading the way. A study by Man Made Music showed that the music used in your branding can lead to a 46% increase in brand favorability. Creating an advert requires a decision to be made around what type of music to use, whether it’s a popular song or an original piece of music specifically created for the brand.

The music you select should convey key messages and evoke a strong emotive connection. A well-fitted song increases an advert’s chance of being noticed, and creates a positive association between brand and song, which boosts its chances of getting attention. Here are some key things to bear in mind when it comes to the music you use in your adverts.

The use of popular songs in TV adverts

We’re constantly bombarded with advertising, much of which can be repetitive and boring, especially when you remember that it is all designed to sell us products. But the most successful ads are the ones with a memorable song, tune or jingle, which is likely to grab a viewer’s attention, especially if the chosen music fits perfectly with the brand and product. The tempo of a song has an impact on the listener’s feelings, attitudes and likelihood of purchase. For example, a faster-paced song will make listeners (and, by association, consumers) feel happier. The famous Holidays are coming’ jingle featured in Coca Cola’s iconic Christmas truck advert, for example, is immediately recognised when heard — this is partly due to the jingles repetition.

According to research by Nielsen Entertainment, using popular songs in adverts is the most effective way to evoke an emotional response in consumers. John Lewis’ 2013 Christmas advert is a perfect example, with Lily Allen’s cover of ‘Somewhere Only We Know’ by Keane now heavily associated with the retailer and Christmas. Each year the general public highly anticipate the release of new Christmas adverts, the choice of song is the main focus of discussion.

The importance of YouTube music copyrighting

Adverts on YouTube work similarly to TV commercials as they both show adverts before the main feature that viewers were originally there for. This platform uses pre-roll advertising which automatically plays an advert before the chosen video, however in most cases, users can choose to skip the advertisement after five seconds. As a result, brands have a short window of time to catch the viewers attention, so a suitable song or jingle is necessary to generate those all-important views.

As with any public usage of music, YouTube is strict when it comes to music copyright. In these circumstances, music must be licensed, which means you need to get permission to include it in your video, which also applies to film, television or video games. If a creator is caught using music illegally, the video will be removed and any advertising revenue expected will be lost.

ouTube uses a system called Content ID to oversee this, allowing copyright owners to identify and manage how their songs are being used on the platform. If the music used in a video is registered in the Content ID system, the owner has the power to mute, block and monetize your video.

Prior to using a song, check if a Creative Commons license is being used which allows public usage, or check any sites offering free music on the public domain. Another option is to ask permission directly from the original artist, if possible, or use free stock music sites.

The impact of voice in radio

Unlike TV and online video platforms, radio has no visual element, making the music used on radio adverts an especially important aspect of a campaign. As a result, radio advertising relies on the sound of someone’s voice to sell products—this means how they deliver the message is essential. Music can be particularly beneficial here, especially a catchy tune or jingle.

For example, the song for is widely recognised, immediately creating an image of the brand when heard. However, the Go Compare advert was listed number 1 in a list of most annoying ads showing that a song can easily go too far in the right direction and build up negative associations.

Photo by Eric Nopanen on Unsplash