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Music in advertising

Adam Howard of Howard Audio explains the strong bond between brand and music as he takes us through the evolution of the MAQ Campaign music brand mnemonic while Bliss Brands Marketing Director Liezel Bygate says the proof is in the sales figures…

Mnemonics might not be everyday conversation, but they are integral to the advertising process: Mnemonics are a sound device of a few short musical notes or sound effects that aim to help you remember the brand and actually have a huge impact on consumers, creating consistency, making the brand memorable and setting the emotional mood for that brand.

Howard was approached by Bliss Brands two years ago to work on a new musical approach for use on all MAQ products: “The brief was to use the famous gospel traditional song – “This Little Light Of Mine” – make it work to a 30 sec script – and end off with a new musical mnemonic incorporating MAQ’s new tagline – ‘MAQ – Shine On!’

Rather than compose and produce one mnemonic – and use that on the end of every MAQ TVC – Howard decided to change the mnemonic for each campaign to fit the tempo and key of each piece.

“I loved this idea,” says Howard. “So many times with mnemonics you have this great piece of music and picture and then you are jarred into hearing the bespoke mnemonic. It was so nice to be given the freedom to use the mnemonic in a musical way – just changing it slightly – but still identifying that it is the MAQ mnemonic.”

For the first TVC we hear various characters singing different lines of the song and culminating in the choir singing “Let it shine” – this seamlessly goes into the mnemonic.

Since then Howard has created many variations on this single song and mnemonic, each time arranging the song to culminate in the mnemonic and matching the musical key and genre to the theme of the TVC.

“We can really re-arrange the song in ANY style as long as we keep the melody line and harmony. On the next TVC we went down the instrumental route using live Dixieland musicians – a solo trumpet to play the melody (played by Adam Howard himself who really does blow his own trumpet) a sousaphone and a banjo – to give it the real authentic sound.”

At the same time Howard composed a TVC for MAQ Fabric softener but this had to be completely different:  “This music had to be very soothing and we focused on a piano instrumental. This really highlights how we can have the same mnemonic but change it slightly to fit any music that comes before it.”

 When creating the MAQ Dishwashing Liquid TVC Howard wanted lots of bubbles and sparkles so the music had to have a really bouncy and light feel to it. This time the guitar sets the melody, again ending on the mnemonic.

The brief for the latest MAQ Auto washing powder TVC was for a glamorous, fashion shoot: “I decided to move away from the usual melody and completely re-harmonise the song – using the same lyrics and rhythm but really turn it on its head. I’m really happy how this turned out and using the beautiful voice of Mariechan Luiters gave it the feel we needed.”

Bygate adds: “This has been a great learning-curve about how just one piece of music can be tweaked and re-arranged to fit any style of brand TVC and how the mnemonic is integral. Adam has been very clever musically, making the song and mnemonic fit over so many different briefs.

“Since the campaign was launched, MAQ has experienced unprecedented growth and research has shown that both the song and the mnemonic now have very strong associations with the brand.  MAQ washing powder is now the number two brand in the handwash category.”

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Journo

Journalist at Amplifier
Day to day running around and catching up on all the news
Journo
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