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Three Reasons Great Music is Essential for Great Ad Creative

Great pop music and great advertising have always worked well together. Remember the dancing silhouettes shaking to U2 in Apple’s famous iPod campaign? Or how the Rolling Stones’ “Start Me Up” was used to promote the launch of Microsoft Windows 95? Celebrity-driven music not only gets consumers movin’ and groovin’, it also serves an important purpose for marketers by helping to make today’s best creative executions even more impactful. This point was further underlined in a recent article from Nielsen discussing the benefits of pairing celebrity-driven music with ad creative. Here are three more reasons pulled from Nielsen’s article that illustrate why using this kind of pop music may be worth the extra cost.

Music gets inside consumers’ heads
Ever had a song you heard on the radio get stuck in your head? According to the neuroscience research studied by Nielsen, our brains are naturally attracted to musical content – so much so that it can help us process complex ideas more easily than if we just heard or saw some content on its own. As Nielsen points out, advertisers that used a celebrity-driven pop song in their ads saw a 20% boost in consumer attention, emotional receptivity and memory as a result. It turns out that great pop songs aren’t just catchy: they also help to boost ad effectiveness.

Music is all about trust
The second point made by Nielsen about pop music and celebrity-driven songs is that they are an excellent tool to increase advertisers’ trust with consumers. Nielsen notes that much of consumers’ perceptions around whether to trust an advertiser or not are based on subconscious decisions, decisions that are often barely noticeable in the moment that they occur. That’s why music can give ad creative more trust – it can reinforce existing messages already in ad. Consider the example of a financial ad that uses a piece of traditional pop music in its ad campaign. Why wouldn’t this type of brand experiment with something more cutting edge? It turns out that more traditional songs are associated with less risk, making it easier for the brand to communicate its values.

Music helps assure consumers their decisions are sound
Related to the point above, great pop music can help advertisers better connect with consumers due to a concept called the “conformity heuristic.” The term is often used to describe the halo of popularity created by associating a celebrity-driven music track with a brand’s advertising. The well-established popularity of a well-known band serves to once again reassure consumers, subconsciously reinforcing that their peers and other consumers are making similar choices.

Great celebrity-driven music and great advertising are the perfect match. While the costs of using such tracks can be high, the benefits in terms of increased trust, recall, and reassurance with consumers can be well worth the price. Because just like that great pop song you can’t seem to get out of your head, the perfect music-driven ad can help marketers ensure that consumers come back for more.