Music Hath Charms to Open Consumers’ Wallets (And the Top Brands Know It)


ADOTAS – Pop. Electronica. Rap. Music undoubtedly has a powerful influence on people’s moods and productivity, and  in a recent survey, 51 percent of respondents said they view music events as the No. 1 way to build a positive association towards a brand. In fact, 65 percent of people consider live branded experiences as the top vehicle to get people to recommend a brand to friends.

For decades, advertisers have anecdotally known the power of music in conveying a particular image or message, e.g. Apple’s television commercials that feature songs from popular and emerging artists like HAIM, Metric, Goldfrapp, and Sleigh Bells. And music has become ingrained in the shopping experience: set foot in any retail store or fast food restaurant and you will hear music blaring with a quick beat, subconsciously influencing people to stay alert, make their purchases, and get out.

Recently, brands like American Express, Red Bull and Philips have collaborated with musicians in innovative ways. According to a recent article in AdAge, the song-licensing model for commercials is going by the wayside and brands are working with bands directly to create stand-alone websites and livestream music experiences for ad campaigns and events.

Red Bull’s image is focused on high-energy, culturally diverse creative types and has built an empire out of edgy brand association. For over a decade it has held the Red Bull Music Academy, an arts festival that is aimed at musicians of all genres. The brand even goes so far as to fly in students and prominent artist to the event each year. You may not have known this, but Red Bull also has it’s own music label, signing bands like Twin Atlantic and Awolnation (the latter band sang that song “Sail” that is stuck in everyone’s heads).

As I wrote about earlier this year in Adotas, Burberry created a microsite called Burberry Acoustic that showcases newly discovered British musicians like Southern, Keane, Vinyl Jacket and Rae Morris, each of them wearing clothing from the luxury fashion line.

This is nothing new for the industry, as American Express launched “Unstaged,” a livestreaming set of concert performances back in 2010 that showcased well-known directors like Steve Buscemi to film the shows. Performers include bands like Vampire Weekend, The Killers and Duran Duran.

The headphone and speaker company Philips recently launched a campaign called “Obsessed with Sound” with agency Tribal DDB that created an interactive music experience that streamed the Grammy Award-winning Metropole Orchestra online, and highlighted specific musicians to demonstrate the crisp clarity of sound. Phillips also partnered with Ogilvy London to create custom tables that played sweet beats when headphones were plugged in.


  1. Hey Richard –
    As an add on don’t forget Starbucks in this discussion. They have leveraged music in a huge way from their free song downloads which give them so much rich user data and their investments in music and entertainment companies. They have used music to support their brand in a big way. Great piece!


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