Music has been around for centuries and early man even communicated using music when there was no other common language. Whether found as a series of drum beats, a religious chant or an ancient end-blown flute, music has spanned generations, cultures, countries and peoples around the world since the beginning of man’s existence.

Since the advent of advertising in the late 1800s, marketers like me have been wise to the connection that music has to the human mind and heart. In fact one of the world’s oldest jingles, created for the Oldsmobile brand, was released before commercial radio was even around and was based on a popular song at the turn of the century. We smart marketers know how important music is to people’s memories and how strongly we recall music as part of the cultural and emotional framework of our lives.

Think back to some of the most famous advertisements of all time. A lot of them are catchy jingles created to make us feel a certain way. Remember this classic feel good Coca Cola jingle? What about this adorable one from Oscar Mayer? Great commercial jingles are instantly recognizable and often timeless. For instance, Meow Mix was able to capitalize on America’s obsession with cats with this infectious ad way before the advent of YouTube and the cat video craze.

As Anthony mentions in his article, music evokes emotion and really sticks with people. So how does this translate to being important to advertising you ask? Well there are many reasons for this, but let’s look at the top five reasons music works in advertising:

  • Music engages both sides of the brain.
    Marketers like the term “engagement,” which is really just another way of saying “getting your attention.” We definitely do need to get your attention in order to convince you that you should like this brand or buy that product. In this case, engagement means that the logical left brain and the creative right brain are engaged at the same time as your left brain processes the words while the right brain processes the tune and also determines whether the sound is fun, intense or melancholy.
  • Music tells a story in a way that is far superior to narration alone.
    Narration alone can start to drone on and on after a while, right? That’s why sermons can make people sleepy and so can those educational films we all used to watch in school. Now add music to the background – particularly a marching band, the Beatles or a little electric guitar. You’re awake now, aren’t you?
  • Music is instructive in nature.
    The last time you heard a nursery rhyme it really stuck with you, didn’t it? And who hasn’t learned how to recall the names of all 50 states with that catchy little song they teach us in school? Teachers have long known the instructional importance of music in the classroom and this works for marketers, too.
  • Music stays in our memories a long, long time and has extraordinary recall.
    I’ll bet if I asked you what kind of music you listened to when you were 11 or 12 years old it wouldn’t take long for you to start listing off bands and song titles. You might even hum or sing a part of your favorite song. Now try to remember the date of the last time you got your oil changed or went to the doctor. It takes a bit longer doesn’t it? That’s because music gets deep into our brains.
  • Music just plain makes us feel good.
    There’s a reason we sing together in church, mothers sing lullabies to their babies and we whistle while we work. Music just makes everything more enjoyable, puts us at ease, and makes us happy. If a brand wants to build a personality and a connection with you, the consumer, it’ll more likely be successful if you have a strong, positive feeling evoked by the music that’s played along.

Need help making music for your audience? Give us a call at 701-478-1111 or visit We would be happy to help.