Sound on / Sound off: is music important in advertising?

Lyric, tempo, style, tonality, voice, silence, rhythm. All of these and more are elements that are related to sound, to deconstructing music. Every instrument and music style that appears in an ad is intending to communicate something.

We can say that each one of these elements has to be consciously selected when creating an ad. But why consciously select?

Music can be as important as any other element in communication. Text, visuals, sounds, each of them has its attractive side, but music may be the one that makes the audience feel something else. It can elevate the ad to a higher level in humans’ psychology: to an emotional one.  

Music can create much more feelings than any other element, think about emotion, illusion, hate, anger, love, happiness, or sadness. Music can charge any visual imagery with a special sensation.

Let see what the experts have to say about it…

Tanya de Poli, Founder & COO at Founders Agency

Music is a key element to any ad piece. Ads are about creating emotions, and we can create them through visuals, through words, through an idea, but in my opinion, nothing helps engage more than music. There are ideas that are fully driven by music like for example, Super Bowl Babies Choir (with Seal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KqekigARfE). An idea built around a song. Other ideas can be elevated by music to create laughter, tears, or remembrance of our brand, like for example “The Big Leap” by Lacoste (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNGBlMNBoaY).

An ad that is totally elevated and built around an epic song. Music is such an important tool in Ads, and probably the reason why it’s so prohibitive to get music rights for ads, since artists are very protective of associating their songs to brands or they do it at super high costs!”    



Elements of video communication may include copy, typography, imagery, and music. Successful art directors and designers carefully choose the elements that will attract and convey their message to audiences. Copywriting and photography are essential in creating a storyline and context, but music is the element that elicits emotional responses from an audience. Music can set up a scene with a light, happy tone or bring it down to a serious, mysterious mood. Nostalgia is also a powerful emotional response to music. Music also adds impact when added to certain dialogue. In addition, music can be used to transition from one idea to the next.

Finally, music can be used as sonic branding and serves to improve brand recognition. Think about McDonald’s “I’m lovin it!”, the NBC  Peacock chimes, or the ATT chimes.

The successful use of music to convey messages, moods and improve brand recognition makes music one of the most powerful design elements available to designers and marketers.”

Robert Vergara, Art Director + Marketing Professional
Cohort 17, MSM program at FIU

Julia Pisati, Creative Director, Muvinai Agency

“Music as an important element in ads? Absolutely! Music is one of the strongest communication channels at the time of transmitting sensations and emotions to the audience. Music has the capability to connect with our deepest feelings, being able to generate the most diverse sensorial spectrum which could vary from the most happiness status to the saddest feeling, in only one verse. Music makes us feel and by feeling, we can empathize with what we see, we feel appealed. An ad that does not correctly use music in its favor, for what I think, is an ad that is destined to be forgotten.

“I most definitely consider music as an important element in an ad. I believe that music brings the ad to life, draws more attention to the consumer, and can be used to build an emotional attachment with the consumer. This all leads to an improved and hopefully positive attitude towards the brand and the ad itself, making it easier to recall the ads and enhanced consumer persuasion plus ad recall”

Andy Rubio, Tech Sourcing Recruiter @ Visa, FIU Alumni, Graduated MSM Program 2017, Cohort 01  

Silvina Moreno, Artist and Musician, Berklee College of Music Alumni

Music is a fundamental element for any audiovisual piece. Music appeals to emotions and has the power to directly connect people to a specific emotion. Music is a universal language, from my point of view, that can create a direct link between human beings and their emotions. When marketers want to appeal to an audience through their ads, they have found that music can be a great tool to make them connect and generate empathy with what they are selling. I consider that music is fundamental, and I also believe that silence can be as well. Silence is very important when it’s needed, it is as powerful as music (the absence of music per se). A well-used silence can be just as important as any given note.

In addition, I think that certain types/genres of music, connect people to personal life experiences. If an advertiser uses reggae in a beach ad, this kind of music will connect viewers with the experience of being on a beach. This is because generally, we hear this kind of music when we are on the beach. It appeals to a positive emotion that we associate with a beach. We think of holidays, relaxation, enjoying the sun, and an overall good vibe. This a simple example of how an accurate music curation can help advertisers efficiently use music in their favor.”

All five people, from different backgrounds, countries, education, profession, and even life stages coincide with the fact that music is not JUST an element, but a very (why not THE most) important element when creating an ad. Ads (as all other communications in life) are expected to provoke something in someone else. The more equal the de-codification of the message is to the codification itself, the more successful the communication will be.

Music can be the essence of an ad, can be what makes the ad memorable and unforgettable. There are brands that are related 100% with a song or special music for many years that you can even imagine that brand with another combination of notes. There are ads that have no sense at all if the music is not played.

Evoking emotions, making your audience feel something, be inspired by something, or simply get involved with what the ad has to say: here is when the strength of Music arises.  Music can communicate without actually communicating. It helps the ad to transmit the message and to create the emotional situation to receive it. Music helps to create stories and inspire audiences.

There are many examples in which music plays an important role in the ad, for example, the case of the Sony Bravia series, the Apple music ad or even the Cadbury ‘Gorilla’ ad, or even Volkswagen that plays with the sound and silence resource.

Music, when used appropriately, is the catalyst of advertising” isn’t Sidney Hecker right? Do not underestimate the power of sound, choosing the right combination of notes will probably lead to the failure or success of your next ad. Be conscious of this, be silent, be musical.

Hope you liked today’s “Let’s talk about…” topic, I look forward to reading your comments and positions about it! If you want to know more about marketing insights, check these other posts!

Special thanks to collaborators =)

meet them on their social accounts:


What are the 8 Elements of Music?


You Might Also Like

Leave a Reply