Medical Mysteries of Music

Published on January 12th, 2018 | by Alan Cross

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Can Hit Songs in TV Commercials Make You Shop More?

Everyone knows that music can be used to manipulate us in both good ways and bad. It can get us pumped up for the big game. It can be used to relax and de-stress us. Restaurants use music to make us eat faster and drink more alcohol. And retailers use music to entice us to spend more.

And it’s not just the music we hear in stores or at the mall. We have to consider the hit songs we hear in commercials. From Billboard:

Popular song syncs are a staple of modern advertisement, but it turns out these commercial uses benefit more than just good vibes — they increase viewers’ attention, emotion and memory by 20 percent and deliver a significant rise in effectiveness over multiple viewings.

This information comes from a recent report published by Dr. Bradly Vines, director of neuroscience Europe for Nielsen Music finding that though agencies are likely to pay a hefty price to use pop songs in their commercials, the cost might be worthwhile. He states that, so long as the pop song does not overshadow the brand or trigger negative associations, popular syncs are proven to boost consumer engagement the more times the ad is seen (and heard).

Certainly positive associations play a role in this phenomenon, but Vines also likens the affect to a celebrity influencer that triggers an innate need to conform.

“This gives the advertised product a halo of popularity, which signals to the consumer that there is less risk in trying it out for new purchasers,” he writes. “A famous song may also imbue the messages in an ad with greater authority if the music drives associations with rich and famous musicians who are seen as cultural leaders.”

Read on, especially if you have goods for services to sell. Or better yet: an artist with a song that you want to license.




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About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.


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