Music is What Feelings Sound Like

Imagine for a moment the opening titles of ‘Friends’, as you watch the images of the happy young New Yorkers cavorting across the city, hear in your mind the jaunty theme tune by The Rembrandts singing “I’ll be there for you (When the rain starts to pour), I’ll be there for you (Like I’ve been there before), I’ll be there for you (‘Cause you’re there for me too)…”


Now keep the pictures the same but scratch The Rembrandts and replace them with the theme from Rocky – Eye of the Tiger by Survivor…

Finally, still keeping the pictures of Ros, Rachel and co in your mind, play in Chopin’s Funeral March… See how the way in which you interpret the pictures can be altered? Music heavily influences perception.

This immense power of music to influence the mood of an audience is a potent tool for the skilful marketeer. North Carolina State University Researchers have given this phenomenon an academic focus, studying 50 years’ worth of chart songs, identifying the key recurrent themes that chime with the listener, and analysing how these themes might be employed by marketeers in promotional content to make it resonate better with audiences.

The study reinforces what psychologists have found in many studies – for reasons of evolutionary development the human brain encrypts emotional memories more profoundly, and memories created with an appropriate, resonant musical counterpart embed as emotional memories.

This means, in the advertising world, that the right song or musical soundtrack can increase attention, enhance enjoyment, trigger an emotional response, help with memorability and recall, create positive associations, underscore key messages and ultimately increase brand awareness/sales!

“People are exposed to a barrage of advertisements and they often respond by tuning out those advertisements. We wanted to see what we could learn from hit songs to help advertisers break through all that clutter.

“We also wanted to see if there were specific themes that could help companies engage with consumers in a positive way via social media.”

“Our work shows that there is a limited range of widely accepted themes that get at the heart of human experience and resonate with a large and diverse population of consumers,”

“We’re not saying that every marketing effort should centre on one or more of these themes, but the implication is that efforts incorporating these themes will be more successful than efforts that don’t.”

Dr. David Henard, Professor of Marketing, North Carolina State University

Need further proof that music can influence perception?

Watch the iconic opening scene from Steven Spielberg’s ‘Jaws’ and see how changing the music can tell a completely different story:

So, if you want your commercial content to really resonate – don’t forget the music!

For more details on our music services, click here or contact Second Sense on 0333 577 2202

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