Wednesday, June 22, 2011

An explanation of how advertising music affects brand perception

People have different emotional reactions to a product being advertised and the person announcing it if the advert is accompanied by jazz, swing or classical music. These are the main conclusions of a study carried out by the University of the Basque Country, which analysed the effect of the memories and emotional reactions stimulated by the music used in advertising.
“Our study shows that the use of different melodies, which are appropriate and in line with the message and the brand but different in terms of tempo and tone, creates different impressions of the person endorsing the advertised product and of the brand itself”, Patrick Hartmann, co-author of the study published in the African Journal of Business Management and a researcher at the University of the Basque Country, tells SINC.
This conclusion was reached by carrying out a survey on a random sample of 540 Spanish consumers (aged from 15 to 65), who were played a series of radio adverts for a fictitious brand of mineral water, which had been devised specifically for the research project.
The results of the survey measured the listeners’ perceptions, based on the advert they had listened to, of the person endorsing the product, any emotional reactions stimulated among them, and their attitude towards the brand (‘overall evaluation’ and ‘purchasing intention’).
“There were four experimental adverts, one without any music and three with musical accompaniment, all with an identical text and a fictitious brand name. The four adverts were played on the Cadena Ser radio station, and each subject heard only one of the versions”, Hartmann explains.
The music selected had no lyrics, to prevent any interference with the generation of memories among the participants, and it was chosen following several group sessions with experts from an advertising agency. Finally, two musical versions (with music unknown to the public) were created specifically for the adverts, while the third version (well-known music) used What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong.
“The average scores for the variable of ‘emotional reaction generated’ among the consumers were significantly higher for the versions of the adverts using musical accompaniment than in the one without any music. The average scores were also significantly higher in the version using the famous song by Louis Armstrong than in the other two versions that used unknown songs”, the study reports.
Rhythm provides beat for the message
In order to understand the ‘jingle-brand’ association, the subjects were played the three experimental adverts with musical accompaniment once the survey was completed. The results showed that people learned and quickly memorised the first piece of music they heard, and that this was the one that most people (73.3%) considered to be the most suitable for the advertisement and the brand.
“Being simultaneously exposed to a specific jingle and a brand very quickly creates an associative link in the consumer’s memory between the jingle and the brand”, adds Hartmann.
The style of the music, meanwhile, also affects people’s impressions of the person endorsing the product being advertised. “As in the case of whether the music was considered to be well suited to the brand, the study participants who listened to the version of the advert with music that was faster and had a greater musical range thought the speaker seemed happier, more restless, excitable, impatient, jovial, sporty, enthusiastic and daring than the speaker in the second musical version”.
On the contrary, “the people who were played the musical version with less tonality and a slower tempo found the person speaking to be calmer, more relaxed, patient, delicate, understanding, disciplined, mature and trustworthy”, the expert explains.
This also happened in the case of the characteristics that people attributed to the brand when they heard the two different versions. While the people who heard the first version saw the brand as “more energetic, sporty, exciting, refreshing, young and fun”, the second piece of music gave people an impression of the brand being “more delicate, soft, relaxing, mature, natural and healthy”.
“A brand may be affected by a specific jingle from the very first moment at which it is associated with it. This makes the jingle is, to a large extent, (along with its associated memories and emotions), the thing that makes a brand identifiable in the mind of the buyer”, the study concludes.
Download the article by clicking here.