Music In Advertising Essay Writing

What is the Music Appeal?

The Music Appeal is one of roughly twenty advertising strategies that marketing professionals use to persuade people to buy a product, pay for a service, donate to a cause, or otherwise be persuaded. The Music Appeal uses music and sound specifically to attract attention, make people feel good, and increase recall or memory of the product and service.

When Should I Use the Music Appeal?

The music appeal can be widely used for most any product or service type. The Music Appeal is especially useful when you want to make your product or service seem lively or exciting and you want to integrate a jingle or song that will make your audience feel happy and upbeat. Consider, for example, one of the classic tunes used by restaurant chain Chili’s to announce their baby back ribs. Note how the music is the emphasis of the appeal and how the jingle is catchy and upbeat.


How Do I Apply the Music Appeal in Advertising?

The music appeal works best when you make the advertisement almost entirely focused on the music, with the product or service you are advertising as background information. The goal is to get your audience to remember it later, even if they’re not necessarily paying close attention to the product while watching or listening to the advertisements. Keep music upbeat and memorable. While many advertisements include music and sounds as background information, when you use the Music Appeal, you make the music front and center of the ad, appealing to your target audience’s tastes in music and feel-good rhythms.

Examples of Music Appeals in Action


Music in advertising refers to music integrated in (mass) electronic mediaadvertisements in order to enhance its success. Music in advertising affects the way viewers perceive the brand by different means and on different levels, and “can significantly effect the emotional response to television commercials.”[1] It also has an effect on the musicians whose music is featured in advertisements.

Functions of music in advertising[edit]

In advertising, “music can serve the overall promotional goals in one or more of several capacities.”[2] David Huron came up with six primary categories, which include: entertainment, structure and continuity, memorability, lyrical language, targeting, and authority establishment.


The entertainment aspect of music helps make an advertisement more appealing by adding aesthetic value to it. An advertisement that has high aesthetic value will be able to capture more attention from the audience. From this point of view, “music need not necessarily manifest any special affinity with a particular product or service in order to play an effective and useful function.”[2]

The music functions more as bridge between viewer and advertisement in this case.

Structure and continuity[edit]

Music supports an advertisement's structure and continuity by mediating between disjoint images”.[2] Accompanying a TV commercial, music either structures the narrative or tells a narrative itself. It can also create an antagonist and protagonist within this narrative by giving them typical musical figures, harmonies or melodies. Moreover, music has the ability to emphasize dramatic moments within the advertisement, and therefore creates both structure and continuity.


Music in advertising is “the most common musical technique for aiding memorability and hence product recall".[2]

Music serves the function of making a product more memorable to viewers, as it is known to "linger in the listeners mind."[2] When used in an advertisement, the content of the ad lingers along with the music. Easily recognizable music is put in television ads to produce a “significant positive relationship with recall and comprehension” for the viewer.[1] On top of this, “recall of information is improved when cued with a well-known song.”[3] Advertisements strategically use popular music to make a lasting impression on viewers.

Lyrical language[edit]

For providing rational facts in the same time “mixtures of speech and song provide advertisers with opportunities for both logical, factual appeals through spoken and written language and emotive, poetic appeals through music.”[2]

Contemporary advertisers must overcome the viewer’s innate skepticism, which developed over years through desensitization. Music can provide a message without the customers consciously noticing it; in other words, they are "uninvolved, nondecision-making consumers rather than cognitive active problem solvers.”[4]


Using different kinds of musical genres in the advertising world helps advertisers draw from the kind of audience they think will be interested in their products. The idea that there is a specific group of people that an advertiser is trying to reach is called target audience and music is a significant aspect of what draws the target audience in.[2]

Music can create different moods and sway people of different groups into thinking or feeling certain ways. The different tempos, time changes, pitches, and content of the music can target any one or many groups of people the advertiser may be trying to reach.[5]

Often times, music in advertisements show a viewer what a product is before the ad actually states it. Linda M. Scott, says in her journal, "Understanding Jingles and Needledrop: A Rhetorical Approach to Music in Advertising, “Studies of advertising music share an underlying theory in which music is an effective background component that causes attachment to the product without the cognitive involvement of the viewer.”[6] Music can create a bond between a viewer and a product, which is why it is considered important for advertisers to choose the right music for their target audience.

Authority Establishment[edit]

Authority establishment in music in advertising is the idea that using specific kinds of music can help give an advertisement more credibility because of the artist being used in the ad. This is another way that companies can help persuade consumers to buying their product. Using a specific song that holds weight in the target audience the advertiser is trying to reach can strengthen the bond between the product and the consumer.[2]

Effects on Credibility[edit]

Credibility is often brought to question when considering how music is used in present day advertising and marketing efforts. It is proven that certain types of music can lend credibility to individuals, companies or even specific products. This is exactly what advertisers want to have happen and they particularly prefer music as a source of adding credibility to their subjects.[citation needed]

Relationship with Musician[edit]

Music effects the moral value of the artist, in the sense the music he/she makes out of their feelings and emotional drive is then used for a car commercial, or maybe one of their songs is used for a mayonnaise commercial. This could be seen as "the ultimate sellout that offended aesthetic and bohemian values"[7] Being that the original intent for the song was not intended for random advertisement, musicians may feel cheated.

On the other hand, “by contrast, today advertisements represent one of the best opportunities for many musicians to gain access to mainstream markets (The erasure of antagonisms between popular music and advertising).”[7] So, a musician having his or her song used in a popular ad may contribute to the success of that song.

Interaction of music and brand[edit]

In general one could say that music can be altered in meaning depending on its context. This is of course an opportunity for advertisers to create meaning for their brand by employing musical pieces for their own interest. But music has “a potential for the construction or negotiation of meaning in specific contexts.”[8] That means that some music can match better with one type of products than with another type. Different musical types can i.e. target high culture or popular culture oriented customers. The reason is that “musical styles and genres offer unsurpassed opportunities for communicating complex social or attitudinal messages practically instantaneously.”[9] One could literally say that music is worth a thousand words. That’s why music became more and more important to advertisers. They have the chance to transfer specific characteristics connoted to certain musical types to their products. “Music now is more often employed as ‘borrowed interest’ capturing a feeling, setting a mood, recalling past experiences and playing them back on behalf of the sponsors.”[10] All these attributes help an advertisement appealing to the life world or lifestyle of the targeted group.

And of course “music transfers its own attributes to the story line and to the product, it creates coherence, making connections that are not there in the words or pictures; it even engenders meanings of its own […] the music interprets the words and pictures.”[11] It is obvious that a brand’s, product’s or service’s value is enhanced by the connection to music. It adopts meanings which are inherent in the music because “the object itself is not enough to sell it; it must also be linked to some sort of personal meaning, the very essence of branding.”[12] That means that a brand or product has to pick up some kind of connotation which is added by the music. Also a certain artist can change or shape an advert so that it fits a certain target group. “Advertising is not about what the product does but who the consumer is”[13] and so advertisements have to find a good balance between adopting meaning from a used musical piece or artist and providing context in return to become authentic. Both the music and the advertisement can benefit from this symbiosis. There are artists and music bands that became famous through having their music inside of adverts which can in return mean to sacrifice their music to the brand.

“The joining of music culture, through either a licensed track or the appearance of an artist, with a product or service in a commercial brings new connotations to both artist [and also the music] and company while naturalizing the relationship between the two. The value of articulating popular music to a product can be seen as especially important to advertisers competing with products similar, if not identical, in use-value.”[14]


  1. ^ abBruner, Gordon C.. “Music, Mood, and Marketing”. Journal of Marketing 54.4 (1990): 94–104. Web
  2. ^ abcdefghHuron, David (1989). "Music in Advertising" (PDF). The Musical Quarterly 73 (4): 560–569. doi:10.1093/mq/73.4.557. Retrieved 22 April 2011.
  3. ^Allan, David. "Effects Of Popular Music In Advertising On Attention And Memory."
  4. ^Alpert, Judy; Alpert, Mark (1989). "Background Music As an Influence in Consumer Mood and Advertising Responses". Advances in Consumer Research. 16: 485–491. Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
  5. ^Bruner, Gordon C.. “Music, Mood, and Marketing”. Journal of Marketing 54.4 (1990): 94–104. Web [1]
  6. ^Scott, Linda M.. “Understanding Jingles and Needledrop: A Rhetorical Approach to Music in Advertising”. Journal of Consumer Research 17.2 (1990): 223–236. Web...[2]
  7. ^ abEckhardt, G. M., and A. Bradshaw. "The Erasure of Antagonisms between Popular Music and Advertising." Marketing Theory (2014): 167-83. Print.
  8. ^Nicholas Cook "Music and Meaning in the Commercials“, Popular Music, 1994, vol. 13, nr. 1, p. 39
  9. ^Nicholas Cook "Music and Meaning in the Commercials“, Popular Music, 1994, vol. 13, nr. 1, p. 35
  10. ^Carrie McLaren, Rick Prelinger "Salesnoise: the convergence of music and advertising“, Stay Free! 15 fall 1998, p. 1
  11. ^Nicholas Cook "Music and Meaning in the Commercials“, Popular Music, 1994, vol. 13, nr. 1, p. 38
  12. ^Bethany Klein "In Perfect Harmony: Popular Music and Cola Advertising“, p 4
  13. ^Bethany Klein "In Perfect Harmony: Popular Music and Cola Advertising“, p 6
  14. ^Bethany Klein "In Perfect Harmony: Popular Music and #Cola Advertising“, p 5

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