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Explore the Use of Music in Advertising

We invited three top creatives to showcase some brilliant examples of the use of music in advertising. The event, in partnership with Radiocentre, took place at The Hospital Club in London, and was Chaired by Holly Newton (The Sunshine Company). Our panel showed classic advertising examples and impeccable sound design, and told the stories behind the creation of the campaigns. 

Loz Horner, Strategist, Lucky Generals

Pot Noodle – The Ring

Music is one thing that is close to my heart as a strategist. It can deliver my strategies often better than the pictures. In fact, often if you sing a strategy it can come across as more compelling and believable than if you say it.

Pot Noodle is an example of music helping us deliver the message. It was very much seen as the snack of the 90s, the brand of snackers - lazy people who sit around all day. The current generation don’t really like that; they’re more ambitious and more motivated. We said they still need a quick and easy snack because they’re really busy, not because they’re unmotivated. 

Our research showed that people really enjoyed the twist in the story. So we used the rap track to emphasis the flip between the two halves of the ad. It turned out to be hugely successful to that side of the work.

Bud Light - Real Men of Genius Campaign

Mr. Silent Gas Killer, DDB Chicago 2006/7

This campaign demonstrates how music can be a deliverer of strategic messaging. It celebrated the heroism of everyday Bud Light drinkers.

It’s one of the greatest radio ads of all time. There were around 200 spots in this campaign. People were bootlegging them and selling them on eBay - which is a sure sign of success.

For anyone with strategic angle, the adage is - if you can’t say it, sing it. Because music is a fantastic way to deliver messaging.

Laurent Simon, Creative Director, adam&eveDDB

Levi's Laundrette

Launderette was first aired 30 years ago.
You might not even have been born then.
Yet I would just need to play Marvin Gaye’s track for you to know, within seconds, who’s in it, what’s happening, and more importantly from an advertising point of view, who it's for.
I grew up with Levi’s ads. They were on MTV, on the radio, on my walkman and then CD player…
And that is the power of music, to be part of the popular culture.

John Lewis – The Bear and Hare

John Lewis has become the most anticipated advert in the UK.
Mostly because of its song - always a cover - which has always reached the top 3 in the charts year-in-year-out.
This success is no accident.
Music is thought about very early on in the creative process.
By the time you’ve shot the ad, you’ve probably listened to hundreds and hundreds of tracks.
You then whittle it down to 2 or 3 that have the best suited lyrics to then work with the right artist.
The power of the cover has been quite trendy because it’s an extremely powerful commercial tool.
But I wouldn’t be surprised if we witness a new trend soon as people might tire of it.
The Bear & Hare, adam&eveDDB, Yellow Pencil, Film Crafts, 2014.

John Connon, Creative Director, Wake the Town

Honda – The Other Side

In The Other Side, the music needed to follow the same guidelines as the two stories. For us as a company, this was the first time we’ve been asked to create two distinctly different sonic worlds. By using the same relative key and other melody cohesive thread we were able to marry the two pieces of score.

The Other Side, Wieden+Kennedy / Wake The Town, Wood Pencil, Film Advertising Crafts [Sound Design], 2015

Old Spice – Momsong

When I saw Wieden & Kennedy Portland’s Old Spice Momsong I immediately wanted to read up about it. The agency employed a company called Walker Music to collaborate with - including writing the scripts and creating the song.

Momsong, Wieden + Kennedy / MJZ, Wood Pencil, Film Advertising Craft [Use of Music], 2014

They reached out to Brad Neely who had worked on Family Guy, having a strong musical element to it. Working with him, once they landed on a script the hardest thing was to translate it into music terms, whilst keeping the humour alive. The success of this campaign was down to the way in which the sincerity of the arrangement and melody juxtaposed the absurdity of the lyrics and visuals.

For more information on the impact of music in advertsing, read Radiocentre's report – Strike A Chord.

If you think you have a campaign that deserves a Pencil, enter your work into the D&AD Awards and see if our judges agree. When it comes to awards, nothing matters more.

For more creative inspiration and the opportunity to get up close and personal with the world’s best design and advertising, join us at D&AD Festival.

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