Current Issue Summary
March 2021 (Vol. 61, Issue 1)
The Impact of Source Effects on the Evaluation of Music for Advertising: Are There Differences in How Advertising Professionals and Consumers Judge Music?
Brands spend millions of dollars to procure music for use in marketing campaigns, television and radio commercials, social media and experiential events. But does music in advertising need to come from an expensive source, like a popular performance artist, to make an impact? Not necessarily, according to Manuel Anglada-Tort (Technical University of Berlin, now at Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Frankfurt), Steve Keller (Berlin School of Creative Leadership, now at Pandora), Jochen Steffens (TU Berlin, now at Düsseldorf University of Applied Sciences) and Daniel Müllensiefen (Goldsmiths University of London). After studying people’s evaluation process for choosing music in ads, they found big differences in how advertising professionals and consumers judge the sourcing of music. And, that differential can prove costly for brands.
By observing how music in advertising influences consumer behavior, they identified four interconnected factors: 1) the music itself, 2) the listener, 3) the listening situation and 4) the listener’s advertising-processing mechanism. All four factors interplay in a complex process that is intensified “when one considers the wide variety of decision makers involved.” The researchers then focused on two music sources, starting with existing music—sourced either from authentic performing artists (at a higher cost), from commissioned music or stock libraries (at a lower cost). Commissioned music is produced in response to an advertising brief, often for better brand fit. While the latter initially incurs substantial fees, it can save money in the long run. As expected, advertising professionals were influenced by a number of factors which led them to favor music choices from higher-cost, performing artists. As for nonprofessionals? The sourcing didn’t matter. The finding goes against conventional wisdom that has long suggested brands should be associated with celebrities and music artists.
Among the takeaways:
- Advertisers and marketers are keenly aware of the power of music to influence consumer perception and behavior.
- Advertising professionals may recommend that their clients pay a premium for music coming from performing artists, but brands may see little or no added beneﬁt if the source of the music does not matter to the listening public.
Read the full article here.