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

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.


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...
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