HEAR ME NOW

An ad’s sound­track can change how we feel and even al­ter our brains.

Campaign Middle East - - FRONT PAGE - By Emily Tan

If you need proof that sound pro­foundly af­fects a brand­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, look up Tup­per­ware’s man­dolin ads on YouTube.

One of the ver­sions on its US and Canada chan­nel is set to crash­ing elec­tronic mu­sic and is un­watch­able. An­other, un­der the name Man­dochef on its Asian chan­nel, uses ex­actly the same vi­su­als but is set to gen­tler mu­sic com­posed for the ad, with sat­is­fy­ing sound ef­fects. The lat­ter has more than 10 times the views of the US ver­sion.

Sound brand­ing is not a new con­cept, but the results of re­cent re­search and the rise of voice as a plat­form are push­ing brands to use it at a new level. It is thanks to this re­search that the rea­son the mel­lower ver­sion of the Tup­per­ware ad is more sat­is­fy­ing to watch can be iden­ti­fied.

“Our brains love it when what we see and hear are aligned. Con­versely, our brains find it dis­tract­ing and up­set­ting when it’s out of sync,” Heather An­drew, chief ex­ec­u­tive of neuro-re­search com­pany Neuro-In­sight, ex­plains.

Two years ago, Thinkbox com­mis­sioned Neuro-In­sight to ex­plore links be­tween TV ad­ver­tis­ing cre­ative and mem­ory. One of the find­ings from this anal­y­sis, which in­volved map­ping the brain re­sponses to more than 200 TV ads, was that when mu­sic and vi­su­als synced up well, the brain gen­er­ated a 14 per cent higher mem­o­ryen­cod­ing re­sponse.

“John Lewis ads do this par­tic­u­larly well; they of­ten re-record tracks to bet­ter suit the vi­su­als,” An­drew adds.

Neuro-In­sight also found that the brain prefers it when mu­sic’s emo­tional res­o­nance matched that of the ad’s story and vi­su­als. When the re­searchers re­placed the track for Bud­weiser’s 2018 Su­per Bowl com­mer­cial “Stand by you” (a soft and slow cover of Stand by Me by Sky­lar Grey) with the orig­i­nal more up­beat Ben E King ver­sion, the results were dra­matic.

“We found a dra­matic dif­fer­ence in the brain re­sponses to the two dif­fer­ent ads – the brain was strug­gling to con­nect the Ben E King ver­sion with the vis­ual sto­ry­line it was see­ing,” An­drew says.

But be­yond mak­ing the brain happy to stim­u­late mem­ory, what if brands could use mu­sic or sound to al­ter brain­waves, in­duc­ing a de­sired state? Sound brand­ing agency Sound­scape and ho­tel chain Ci­ti­zenM are in the process of test­ing this the­ory.

“There is neu­ro­science re­search that sug­gests by mim­ick­ing a brain’s os­cil­la­tions, you could trig­ger cer­tain states, such as sleep­ing or fo­cus. It’s a form of hyp­nother­apy if it works,” Ol­lie Humphries, founder of Sound­scape, ex­plains.

Work­ing with artists and neu­ro­sci­en­tists, Sound­scape has com­posed mu­sic tracks for Ci­ti­zenM aimed at solv­ing three trav­eller prob­lems: jet­lag, fo­cus and the fear of fly­ing.

“Neu­ro­sci­en­tists are test­ing out how our tracks per­form against gen­eral mu­sic you find on Spotify la­belled ‘sleep’ or ‘fo­cus’. If it works, we’ll dis­trib­ute it through the ho­tels and on Spotify,” Humphries says.

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