Music can fulfill several tasks when it is used in advertisements. David Huron therefore chooses six categories in which “music can serve the overall promotional goals in one or more of several capacities.” Mostly the use of music is not only intended by one of the following attributes but they are interdependent and interrelated to each other. The categories he claims are described as follows.
The entertainment aspect of music helps making an advertisement more appealing to the viewer by simply making it more attractive respectively more aesthetic. By this increase in attractiveness an advertisement is able to engage more attention. From this point of view “music need not necessarily manifest any special affinity with a particular product or service in order to play an effective and useful function.” The music functions more as bridge between viewer and advertisement in this case.
Structure and Continuity
Another basic attribute of music is to support an advertisements structure and continuity. Therefore “music is used to mediate between disjoint images” Also it can emphasize dramatic moments within the advertisement. Accompanying i.e. a TV commercial music structures the told narrative, can tell a narrative itself or function as anchor which completes the overall meaning. It can i.e. create antagonist and protagonist within this narrative by giving them typical musical figures, harmonies or melodies.
It is far more likely to memorize a piece of music than spoken language or images because “music tends to linger in the listeners mind.” “Early advertising music also had different aims. Music then was primarily used as a mnemonic device. Rhyme and reception were enlisted to keep a brand name in mind. ‘Singing commercials’ or jingles made up a self-contained genre.” Huron adds that it is “the most common musical technique for aiding memorability and hence product recall.” Companies use these for example to make the customers remember their phone number, webpage, their company name or at least a catchy slogan linked to the brand. But also non-jingle music can perform this task and stick in the customers mind.
In contemporary adverts the advertisers must overcome the viewer’s skepticism which developed over years through desensitization. This can become a pretty hard task. But since advertisers favor mostly poetic, emotional appeals over logical, informational appeals due to the shift from modern to postmodern advertisement music turned out to be a perfect tool to reach this goal. Music can provide a message without the customer consciously noticing it. For providing rational facts in the same time “mixtures of speech and song provide advertisers with opportunities for both logical, factual appeals [through spoken and written language] and emotive, poetic appeals [through music].”
Targeting and Authority Establishment
Different types of music can be attributed to certain kind of groups or life styles which makes it possible to appeal to these groups over using certain kinds of musical genres. Music can therefore function as a “nonverbal identifier for certain groups with different musical taste because it is “arguably the greatest tool advertisers have for portraying and distinguishing various styles.”
Looking at these contributions of music towards advertisement it becomes obvious that these attributes work together in inseparable ways. Of course there could be added other categories. There is for example a difference between diegetic (the source of the music is visible) and non-diegetic (the source of the music is not visible) use of music which can have totally different effects in result depending on the adverts context. The overall task of advertisers nowadays should be to develop a “considerable practical experience in joining images and music to social and psychological motivation” and by this process create meaning which appeals to the target group and helps the advertisement to succeed.
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