Saturday, March 04, 2006

Brand Melody - Part I

Authors’ note
During my final semester in Bachelor of management studies (BMS), I majored in Marketing of which a large chunk (as I figured out) comprised of Advertising and Brands. Very soon I developed a keen interest in the subject, especially brands. I had an urge to know more about the genesis of various brands and their related topics. I enjoyed reading more and more of brand building concepts, branding strategies, their application in today’s business and advertising scenario. That apart, another one of my ardent interests is Music.
Hence, when I thought of merging the two – Brands and Music, here is what I could come up with. Apart from reflecting my own opinion and ideas on the subject, a good part of this write-up discusses facts about companies, brands, etc based on a research I did during BMS. Also, this is my first post with a few photos/pics. Read, learn and enjoy!!

“The advertisers who believe in the selling power of jingles have never had to sell anything.”
------- David Ogilvy

In recent years, consumer purchase decisions have become more weighted towards emotional attributes rather than functional benefits. As consumers become increasingly ‘high tech’, they crave personalization and ‘high touch.’ Music is one such instrument in the hands of advertisers and marketing personnel that enables them to touch the personal chord of the consumers.

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.”
------- Victor Hugo

The true marketing potential of music is that without any other stimulus, it can access a mood, emotion, and deeply move specific demographics within a target market in just a few seconds. In addition, the heritage of music, through the artist, Genre, etc., can reflect a culture, a time period and lifestyle without even playing a note! Musicians and songwriters themselves have an innate talent for making connections and distilling a message into its essence. They are often dreamers and visionaries who operate on an emotional level - natural drivers of direction and catalysts for expressing complex social issues in contemporary voice. In addition, with new multimedia platforms such as interactive mobile phones, music can further extend its reach and ability to impact the consumer on a multitude of levels. The television commercial has historically been the initial platform where brands have used music to support a visual idea.

Creating Brand identity through music
The GAP creative teams have excelled with this approach. The GAP has a very clear and compelling music DNA: fun, edgy, innovative, approachable and personal. The consistency of the style of its television commercials, plain white backdrops with young energetic multicultural people, with bold exciting music, is The GAP identity glue under which a host of different products have been successfully launched. They created a formula that clicked in the consumer’s mind. The GAP clearly understands that building a Brand by ‘tone of voice’ requires repetition and exposure. The GAP repeatedly used this format and as a result helped promote artists’ new tracks in seasonal commercials. When singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright appeared in a Christmas commercial, the record company began promoting him as “that guy who appeared in the GAP commercial.”
Music Strategy
A classy example of a great Music strategy is Nike’s use of an old, relatively unknown Elvis track as the soundtrack to a commercial. The commercial gave the track huge airtime on broadcast media, something that the radio stations would not give to an artist who had been dead for 25 years.
The hype was not about the quality of the commercial or the cost of the shoot but the fact that the Elvis estate had been persuaded to allow a modern remix of the track by a popular DJ, JXL and that this was the 25th anniversary of the death of a superstar. The amount of column inches that the partnership produced was beyond the wildest PR expectations. BMG, the record company that owns the Elvis catalogue, had spent 25 years repackaging and reinventing the Elvis back catalogue with a very steady but modest level of success. Off the back of this commercial and the subsequent No 1 single hit in 22 territories, they were able to produce and release a new CD of the Elvis No 1’s over the last 25 years and shifted tons of millions of copies of the album. What made this CD so powerful was that it included the latest hit No 1 “A Little Less Conversation” which charted in the year of the 25th anniversary. The Nike logo had a tag of the Elvis Charm and magic that worked for the brand as well as the record company, BMG.

A more Indian example would be that of the Close Up commercial created by O & M, for instance, superim poses a K L Saigalesque background score on a comic book style visual, while the in-house team at Indore designed the Radio Mirchi segment in which it was to be played. Both hit the funny bone with their parody of old-world Hindi musical styles and thus the jingle, "kya aap close-up karte hai..." proved to be a super-hit and we all found ourselves humming it from time to time.
Brand weds Emotion
Music is essentially emotional and there are few other elements of a brand that have the power to be as responsive to people’s needs for sensory pleasure and to promises of delivery. People relate to brands in a similar way. They form relationships based on personality, appearances (style and image) and trust. Great music can create yearning for a Brand, self-confidence and security through ownership, and make us feel as if we belong to a larger group. Arguably, it is not just the music that evokes the emotion but rather the whole Brand or image of that music entity.
The lingering notes of Obsession between the folds of satin; the sight of a fast-melting dollop of Amul butter with the connotation of “The taste of India!” the aroma of steaming Campbell soup; the texture of Wedgewood artifacts; the electric blue of Pepsi; and the haunting tune of the Cadburys ad (Kya swaad hai zindagi mein) ...brands market experiences. The “Sound of a Brand” is more complex. It is the emotional response to the Brand that is evoked universally, from the commercial players in the management of the acquisition of music content/property right through to the consumer on the street at the receiving end. The consumer on a conscious or subconscious level between the Brand and the music being used about the initial connection makes the “Sound of the Brand”. For example the Cadburys advertisement of the lady dancing in the field had left its strong impact on the emotional levels of the consumers as it said ‘Kya swaad hai zindagi mein.’ The music always connects to the lives of the Cadbury’s chocolate eater. Cadbury’s jingles have always maintained the personal and emotional aspects right from in all their advertisements which include ‘Kya swaad hai zindagi mein’ (the cricket ground), ‘khaane waalon ko khaane ka bahana chaahiye’ (Cyrus Broacha ad) and ‘khush hua mein khamakha.’
The two Mc Donald's campaigns, "McDonald's mein hai kuch baat" and, “I m lovin’ it” have also been successful due to differentiated music strategies. McDonald's, consistently attempts at striking a common chord between the emotional quotient of the consumer and the brand name making it more personal so as to make believe each and every consumer that 'yes, he’s lovin’ it.’ The music is brief yet powerful, full of energy and more fun oriented. Also, the TV commercials are conceptualised in such a manner that the music/lyrical song is completely soaked into the script of the ad. The best example of one such commercial is that of the stage-fearing little boy who recites a poetry in the restaurant and is applauded by all. This is the music differentiation strategy that McDonald’s has constantly followed. What a customer hears may make the difference between his choosing and not choosing a particular brand. Music can make the difference.
Music rekindles human emotions with respect to a brand and in this way helps to marry off the two – brand and emotions. Music is an incredibly powerful vehicle that has the power to convey the emotional attributes of products and services while simultaneously creating layered, textural experiences in our lives. A shift in thinking, from regarding music as a soft service function to a cornerstone of business/brand strategy has indeed occurred.

Sources of research
Gerald J. Gorn’s The Effects of Music In Advertising on Choice behaviour, 1982.
Ogilvy on Advertising
How to capture the advertising high ground by Winston Fletcher
Advertising express – a monthly digest by ICFAI, January and March’05 issues
Google images


Anonymous ramesh said...

hey, good research!! and very nice article also. Its very true that music adds a lot of value to a brand in terms of its image in the minds of the consumers. Btw, the GAP commercial that you are talking about stars Rufus. There was also another one with Macy Gray, right??
good blog!!

11:57 PM  
Anonymous nishu said...

hey, Nice post. A really loooooooooong one though.

7:14 PM  
Anonymous sujit said...

Very good article. Its so true that Music brings the emotional touch to brands and also ads.

10:39 PM  
Blogger Bombay Addict said...

baap re ! kaafi intensive research. good post and largely agree with your views.

2:23 AM  
Blogger Winnie said...

For a non-ad person like me its a very informative post. Although I felt the ads mentioned were a couple of years old. Since I see this is the first part of the post, I am hoping to see some latest ads mentioned.

Some current ads that really strike me with their sound could be the Hutch series. And the Raymonds ad series.

Also your post talks about the association between music and brands. It might be very interesting to see the kind of association sound has with a brand. (or the lack of it). I remember the TITAN Sale ad where the man repeats 'Rs50 to Rs250 off' repeatedly. That sort of hammered the thought in your mind.

Anyways my views are more from a layman perspective. Will wait for your part 2.

7:29 AM  
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7:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey what a great site keep up the work its excellent.

6:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks nice! Awesome content. Good job guys.

10:03 PM  

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