* NOTE: I apologise for the presentation of this post; WordPress seems to messing with the paragraphs/breaks *
The music in branding today tends to be in the form of sonic logos; signatures of the brand, created through rationality to maximize its effect in conveying brand identity.
When it comes to music in television advertising, the music here often facilitates the concept of the advert rather than convey the brand.
However you can’t not communicate.
Finding the right song for an ad is not a problem (as we see it accomplished everyday). The problem is finding the right song in the context of the brand as well. It seems that the choice of song could be more effective.
This problem is evident when we don’t actually understand why certain songs have been chosen in an advert;
(Cadbury’s using “In The Air Tonight”; The choice of song seems to be arbitrary. There are probably many other songs which could have worked just as well or better for the concept of the ad AND how it relates to Cadbury’s as a brand.)
A second minor problem is the issue of licensing songs. Licensing is a short term strategy (unless the brand is willing to continue paying for it, which seems unlikely).
The solution for both problems is to refine the selection process; essentially turning all choices of songs into a sonic logo for the brand (figuratively).
What this does is it helps communicate more effectively, and will inadvertently turn a short term strategy into a long term one.
The Hovis “bike” advert is an example which has accomplished what I have proposed.
Categorization of music exists only to an extent, and it is usually provided by music publishers. Their technique of categorization tends to be based on the science of music (tempo, genre, instruments, lyrics).
Although a sonic logo can be created by science, a song in an advert is much more emotional due to a number of reasons. The question then is whether the emotional can be rationally mapped?
A final concern which is raised from what I propose, is that the categorization of music would be a hinderance on creativity and innovation.
These are the same concerns raised against a similar field – the stock photo libraries.
However we know that stock photo libraries are much less of a hindarance, but rather serve as an invaluable tool for the creative process. Using stock photos allows designers to formulate ideas befor executing them.
The categorization of music would work on a similar level. It is not meant to dictate what type of music should go with what commercial, but it should be a tool which aids the selection process; Allowing brand values to be musically mapped, thus finding the “right” type of music.
END OF PROPOSAL