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Advertising and Music: Is change inevitable?

Chances are you may not be familiar with Mozart's 25th. But if someone mentions 'The Titan theme', the notes written by the little genius from Salzburg would be sure to ring out in your minds.

That was the effectiveness of music in advertising a couple of decades ago. Far from music served to sugarcoat a spoken narrative sales pitch, music as entertainment succeeded in engaginglisteners' attention and rendering the advertisement less of an unwanted intrusion. What better way to accomplish 'brand recall' than by having a celebratory tune lodged in the grey matter of a potential consumer of your product.

In the quest to bring such tunes to life, the music composer was given a wide field to play with to render a tune that would have the longevity of a classical symphony. Without blinkers on creativity, composers had free rein to push the envelope while still functioning within the brand ethos. The result was memorable pieces of work that still fire the embers of nostalgia for a generation that bought into the story and consequently bought into the products.

Cut to 2016 and advertisers find themselves dealing with a 'text-before-you-talk' tech-empowered generation. Millennials munching on megabytes in the youngest country on Earth are spoilt for choice, in what they should consume.

With decreasing attentions spans and increasing competition, brands are looking for the quick fix that will give their young consumers that ephemeral high before they move on to the next big thing. The narrative is lost, a promise replaced by a placement.

So advertisers come armed with references for what their jingles should sound like, based on their 'latest research'. They are confident of the sound tiding the trend till it's time. Unfortunately that would be time their brand lost a little more of its soul.

So can we ever go back to the 'Titan theme'?

Yes, we can. Music composers and advertisers can work together to transcend the friendly neighborhood jingle. It is challenging but not impossible to search for the story within a brand while telling it in the blink of an eye. Advertisers need to get back to the culture lab and work on scripts that flow like a feature but are based in branded content.If brands skip the spots and script stories with music that entertains, educates and inspires like film does, they become what the consumers want to.The music will help provide the soundtrack that forgesreal connections with people, who relate the brand's narrative to their personal lives.

Inevitable change and disruptive technology may have pulled the plug on the old advertising consumption formula, but the golden age of storytelling never died. It would be wise to not skip this message in 5 seconds. Symphonies take a bit longer.