Think BR: Wired for sound
Biometric research shows just how effective sound can be at driving engagement with ads, writes Louise Brice, director at Ipsos ASI.
Louise Brice, director, Ipsos ASI
"If you like a lot of chocolate on your biscuit join our ..." This is what I started to sing as I unwrapped a certain brand of biscuit someone had given my five year old.
The power of a jingle to still spark brand recall, in this case thirty years after I first heard it, is testament to how deeply engaging music can be when married to the right marketing line.
At Ipsos we have been exploring the power of biometric measurement and how, in conjunction with traditional pre-testing, it helps us understand the emotional impact of advertising by measuring the physiological response it evokes.
We consistently find that there are strong physiological responses to sounds in advertising - both the voice-over and any music featured.
Time and again, the biometric engagement trace would lift as the music played and soared.
And the trace would also build if an engaging voice was introduced, with a compelling narrative.
We tested one of the most famous viral ads of recent times in the US, Evian Babies.
This is of course not news to ad land. Some of the most famous and successful ads of recent decades have had music at their heart.
From the long running British Airways campaign to the Guinness Surfer ad that combines that voice over and a thumping music track.
The choice of music will also have helped so many of us talking about the John Lewis Christmas ad, with the haunting nature of the track being integral to creating the ad’s tone.
To be engaged we don’t need to have an experience that we consciously describe as positive.
We can see evidence of this we look at lists of ads that are described as 'irritating' - many of which use music or voice-over to disrupt.
Personally, I love the webuyanycar.com ads. They launched a new site, with an ad that at its heart had a sticky jingle played over and over, and people unexpectedly starting to dance surprisingly well.
But a note of caution - however epic the soundtrack, you can’t rely on music alone.
Some of the Cadbury’s work that followed the Gorilla ad couldn’t deliver the same levels of emotive power.
As Steve Jobs said as he launched the first iPod nearly eleven years ago in 2001: "We love music."
And a generation has grown up with access to more music and devices to allow them to listen to music more intimately, for more of their day than ever before.
And what are the implications of this for advertising? An interesting question to ponder ... and maybe research.
Louis Brice, director, Ipsos ASI
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