Power of Music

By Mark Tungate

Advertising has always depended on music, of course – a great soundtrack can transform a good ad into an epic one. Indeed, songs from ads have regularly made it to the top of the charts. Levi’s is currently celebrating the 150th anniversary of it cult 501 jeans, and in the 1980s and 90s ads for the brand by BBH regularly turned songs both old and new into hits.

Droga 5’s new campaign for 501s pays homage to this approach, particularly when the jeans arrive in Jamaica to the sound of Toots & the Maytals.

But let’s focus on ads where music is the entire point. We loved this piece by Apple and TBWA\Media Arts Lab, which won Gold at the Epica Awards in December and is composed entirely of Apple sounds.

Of course, you can’t venture too far down this road without coming across brands like Spotify. Here’s what happened in South Africa when Nissan joined forces with the music streaming service to create a playlist for a rugged new vehicle. TBWA was in the driving seat again – this time TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris.

In the old days, if you wanted to pick up a few new tunes, you made your way to your local record store. But the digital era offers many other solutions – including Amazon. This next spot from Droga 5 is a sense-scrambling and often surreal journey through various music and animation styles.

Can music be a source of stress? At the end of last year, Amsterdam agency iO and sound system specialists Bowers & Wilkins (or B&W to aficionados) decided to strike a blow against tinny and repetitive Christmas music with a more soothing experience. Welcome to the “Sound Spa”.

One of the most familiar uses of music in ads is the jingle, always designed to be instantly identifiable. Last June, for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, McDonald’s and Leo Burnett did something rather special with the brand’s sonic logo.

Recently, we journalists have been worried about losing our jobs to an artificial intelligence. But what about composers? Telekom and DDB Berlin teamed technology with the world’s finest musical minds in an attempt to complete Beethoven’s unfinished 10th symphony – a challenge that took three years.

Most of us stream music from our phones these days, which can cause problems when the soundtrack to your day suddenly falls silent, as this short and sharp little film for Toyota shows.

Let’s finish with something more traditional. In the UK, everyone grew up with the brand Mr Kipling and his “exceedingly good cakes”, its slogan since the 1970s (Mr Kipling himself was an invention, sadly). Cakes are all about sharing, hence this tender and melodious ad.


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The APPIES is an annual event that presents a rare opportunity for creative, media, digital and marketing agencies or brands to present their best campaigns to the industry.

This is the only event where Live Presentations meets Live Judging.

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APPIES Festival – Judging & Presentations
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