Let the Music Begin: Sometimes It's Helpful to Link Your Bank Brand with a Musical Theme or Jingle. but Be Careful, It's Easy to Stray Off-Key. A Former Advertising and Music Producer Offers Tips on How to Avoid False Notes

Article excerpt

Strike up the band! Depending on the goal of a particular advertising campaign and the overall brand strategy, music can be a valuable tool to increase bank brand equity. When deciding whether to associate your bank with a musical theme, sounder or jingle, there are many factors that must be considered before calling up your favorite composer. Any advertisement, at the very least, should be:

* Engaging to the listener.

* Rewarding.

* Relevant to its time.

* Memorable.

You can meet these criteria without the use of music or lyrics, but experience has shown that putting a jingle to your brand can be effective ha increasing the odds that consumers will listen to, be rewarded by, and remember your name when they hear your advertising.

In addition to the words, music provides rhythm, pitch, repetition and melody to aid in retention. Many of us learned our ABCs by singing the alphabet. A longtime Boston late-night radio talk show host, Larry Glick, used to sing his call-in phone number so people could easily remember it. Additionally, elements such as style, orchestration, vocalist selection (male, female, chorus soft or hard, contemporary, young, old, etc.) can help position your product and imprint the mental image of your bank. If you want to sound big, small, hip, established, sophisticated, folksy or funny, you can with the aid of music.

Strong musical identities

Many companies have used the same music theme for decades. If done well, the music becomes as much a part of your identity as your name, slogan and symbol. Good examples include Disney's "When You Wish Upon a Star"; ABC Television Monday Night Football's "Are You Ready for Some Football?"; Bob Seger's "Like a Rock," for Chevrolet; "Days Go By," by Dirty Vegas for Mitsubishi Donovan's "Mellow Yellow," for Gap; Credence Clearwater Revival's "Heard It Through the Grape Vine," for California Raisins; Baha Men's "Who Let The Dogs Out?" for Honda. It only takes two bars of music (with no lyric) to know that National Geographic is about to present its TV show. However, the use of a popular song reapplied for product advertising can be expensive (It is rumored that Microsoft paid the Rolling Stones $8 million for "Start Me Up") and many become "old" in the consumers' minds after multiple exposures over a long period of time. This is not the case for a custom music piece that works as the audio Logo part of your identity.

Sometimes, music is applied to help new groups of consumer targets relate to your product. A recent example is Cadillac's use of Led Zeppelin's "Rock And Roll" for its new CTS sports sedan. Another popular technique is to use a "sounder" of a few notes. Intel has great recognition for its four-note melody and NBC's decades old three-note sounder is a good example of how melody alone can cause recognition.

Many advertisers make mistakes when using music. In a custom-made jingle, avoid mentioning more than one product or service in the lyric. For example, "We sell nuts and bolts, lawnmowers, dishwashers, and anything else you want at our store." It is hard to believe that this type of lyric would engage consumers. …