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Why does my Campaign Need Music?

October 13, 2011


A post by Gareth Cousins, Composer and Producer of Music for Advertising, Film and TV


(Ed: much of this was written with advertising in mind, but the same principles apply to PR)


Music has several functions when used in marketing, and you will need music if you wish to fulfill one of these goals:


a.  Entertainment

If a moving image is made more entertaining, then it is quite simply more attractive to the viewer, which helps focus the attention on to the product or service that is being marketed. Nike are good at this.


b.  Storytelling

It is a basic attribute of music that it helps to tell a story, to guide emotions, emphasise dramatic moments and to bridge the gap across disjointed images. It helps convey the overall meaning of what is being viewed. See the Carling Black Label Dambusters advert for an example of this.

c.  Memorability

Music stays in the mind longer than the spoken or written word, or images. In the early days of TV advertising, jingles were used to help keep a brand name in mind, e.g. “Ho ho ho, Green Giant”, or “Mild green Fairy Liquid”. Advertising music is generally more sophisticated than that now (and society has moved on a bit!), but still helps keep a brand in a potential customer/s mind – e.g. Lloyds TSB use a memorable orchestral piece with an instantly recognizable vocal melody.


e.  Hidden Messages

Music is the perfect tool for providing a subliminal message. This is important because modern viewers are quite cynical and prefer a subliminal emotional appeal over a logical, informational one. Thus music can provide a message without the viewer being consciously aware this is happening. The Nikon advert is a good example of this.


f.        Establishing Identity

Music is often associated with certain kinds of people (or demographics). It makes it easier to appeal to such groups by using their associated musical genre. Adidas often use this approach.


Gareth Cousins – www.garethcousins.com– has 25 years experience in working on music for picture. Originally trained as an engineer/producer at EMI’s Abbey Road Studios, he has since become a busy producer and composer of music for film, television and advertising. Recent commercial work includes FIFA (2014 World Cup), Rolls-Royce, MIG, Motorola and Cadbury.

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