A Brief History of Audio Marketing

Originating from a German word meaning “to burn”–recalling the practice of producers burning their mark onto their products–a brand, especially a visual logo, became an essential part of company identities in the early 20th century.

Musical advertising goes back at least to 1926. The cereal brand ‘Wheaties’ created a short tune to be played on the radio during Christmas.

Sales increased substantially as this marketing tool proved to be extremely effective. Companies understood the value of music, and especially its power to communicate an emotional and lasting message which people can recall long after they have actually heard it. After that, jingles became the industry standard for any marketer.

In the latter part of the century Coca-Cola’s I’d Like to buy the world a coke by Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway (first aired in 1971) and for example Top Gun movie soundtrack hit Take My Breath Away by Berlin (1986) proved the importance of exposure and the role it plays in the making or breaking of artists’ careers as their songs are paired with the right product, movie, event or company.

Also, Michael Jackson made substantial brand collaboration in his early career. Just like Coca-Cola’s song from the 1970’s, we can hear that putting the brand’s name bluntly in the lyrics was for a long time the standard way for a brand and an artist to collaborate. Listen to Michael Jackson promoting Pepsi with his hit song:

In the 1990’s Pepsi collaborated with Spice Girls. With 20 Pepsi bottle rings you were able to get the special single “Step To Me” recorded for the campaign.

Sound logos also became more common. For example the Nokia tune–taken from Francisco Tárrega’s 1902 composition Grande Valse–can be recognised in a second, and it has evolved alongside the development of technology and trends. (BTW Audiodraft has been part of this development by creating the Nokia Tune Dubstep Edition which is the last version heard on the video below.)”

Music has become a standard tool for attracting consumers. The dominance of sound in advertising is demonstrated by the fact that nowadays only about 5% of TV ads don’t contain any kind of music.

At the same time audio marketing has become more eloquent and the importance of media platforms is greater than ever. Instead of just creating more noise around their company, brands are now interested in establishing positive and emotional responses from music. They do this by taking advantage of the opportunities the technological development and social media create by refreshing and developing their marketing strategies. We will dive deeper into the latest developments in audio marketing in the second episode of A History of Audio Marketing, out March 15 2016.

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