The Effects of Music in Advertising

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Effects of Popular Music in Advertising on Attention and IVIemory

DAVID ALLAN Saint Joseph's University dallan@sju.edu

This study examines the effects of popuiar music in advertising to determine both the theoreticai (the effect of popular music on the processing of advertising messages) and practicai (the design of more effective advertisements using popuiar music) impiications. An experiment is reported that tested the effects of three integrations of popuiar music in advertising: originai iyrics, aitered iyrics, and instrumentais (plus a controi treatment with no music) on attention and memory. The results indicated that song vocais, either originai or altered, are more effective stimuii of advertising effects than instrumentais or no popuiar music.

INTRODUCTION

Whether it is The Rolling Stones' "Start Me Up" or The Vines' "Ride," popular music in advertising is, well, popular. "The syncing of both classic and new songs into advertising campaigns has kept up its torrid pace and shows no sign of abating," said Mark Fried, president of Spirit Music Group (Bessman, 2003). And although the integration of popular music and advertising has been called everything from "selling out" (Burns, 1996; Lubrano, 2004; Michaels, 2002) to the "perfect marriage of commerce and art" {Billboard, 2003), the trend continues. "In the past five years advertisers have been unrelenting in their appropriation of popular music to get the attention of youth, and there's no sign of the trend abating" (Shea, 2004, p. 16). Advertisers use popular music in various ways to involve, engage, and ultimately persuade the potential consumer to purchase their product or service. Whether as foreground or background, music is integrated into commercials in one of several ways. Music is sometimes written, scored, and recorded for advertising certain products or services. In other cases, the less-expensive "needledrop" ("music that is prefabricated, multipurpose, highly conventional and used as an inexpensive substitute for original music" [Scott, 434

1990, p. 223]) or stock music ("prerecorded music that can be rented or bought" [Russell and Lane, 1999, p. 549]) is used. In still other instances, advertisers alter and adapt already or oncepopular songs to their specific products or services (e.g., an eBay commercial in which the words of the Frank Sinatra hit "My Way" are changed to "eBay"). Finally, through direct licensing, advertisers place popular music, in its original vocal or instrumental form, right into the commercials to create an association between the product or service and the song. This study attempts to extend the little research on the integration of popular music in advertising by testing the role of personal significance on the effects of attention and memory. It will experimentally compare three advertising treatments, each using popular music in one of three different conditions: advertising using an original popular music vocal (a commercial that uses popular song vocals integrated with some type of sponsor identification, slogan, and/or attributes); advertising using an altered popular music vocal (a commercial that replaces original popular song vocals with altered vocals containing sponsor identification, slogans, and/or attributes); and advertising using an original popular music instrumental (a commercial that uses the instrumental of an original DOI: 10.2501/S0021849906060491

DFflDOERTISIIlGRESEflRCH December 2 0 0 6

POPULAR MUSIC IN ADVERTISING

popular song integrated with some type of sponsor identification, slogan, and/or attributes); plus a control treatment of advertising not using any music (a commercial without any music or jingle). More specifically, by comparing the observations of individuals exposed to each of these experimental conditions, this research attempts to determine which technique facilitates the highest level of attention to the brand and the strongest memory for the brand. POPULAR MUSIC...
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