great minds on music : an interview with james hilton

“Great Minds on Music” is a series of conversations between some of the top names in the business of advertising and Uli Reese, President of iV2. We’ve edited and compiled these interviews into a series we’ve dubbed “Great Minds on Music.” If you’d like to read more from these innovative thinkers, selecting this link will aggregate all the interviews for easy viewing. 

“Music, like smell, evokes more emotions than vision. Sound is Everything” – James Hilton

GREAT MINDS ON MUSIC: AN INTERVIEW WITH JAMES HILTON

Reese: So let’s dive right in: how important is music in your work?

Hilton: Massively. Music, like smell, evokes more emotions than vision. If you’re played a piece of music from your youth, that will evoke far more emotion than a photograph will. It’s almost instant recall. And those things are incredibly powerful when you’re creating a brand or working with brands…One recent piece of work I wish we’d done is an iPhone game called the Nightjar, for Wrigley’s Five Gum. You have to use your headphones – and it’s done using binaural sound recording: 3D sound. The premise is that you’re walking through a spaceship that’s being attacked by aliens. But all you have on your screen is a left arrow, a right arrow and two pads for walking. The game is created entirely through sound – your hearing triggers your imagination, which is far scarier than any special effect. But to answer your question: sound is everything.

Reese: Do you think music can change behavior?

Hilton: I think it can make you more susceptible to certain suggestions. When you go to a punk concert, you feel a bit violent – but it’s a good violence, a cathartic violence. But when you listen to classical music, you feel smarter, more intellectual, because the music carries a cultural significance. If you meet me at a punk concert you’re going to find a slightly different person to the one at the classical concert. We all know that music influences mood. For instance, there must be all sorts of scientific data about music that makes you want to linger in a store. It has a similar effect to classical music: “You’re an enlightened consumer – so this is where you want to be.”

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teaching an old dog new tricks : radio as an audio branding touch point


An audio brand is only as good as its implementation. For all the hours devoted to the strategy, research and testing that contribute to creating audio assets for a brand, it’s meaningless without a strategy focused on implementing the audio brand as consistently as possible, as often as possible and in as many contexts as possible.

The “contexts” part of that equation refers to what we call “touch points”: the medium or point of contact through which the audio brand is delivered. In the past, these touch points were usually limited to more traditional broadcast mediums, like television and radio. Today, technology is rapidly opening up new possibilities for the use of audio at point of sale, in sonically isolated environments, via mobile applications and immersive 3D soundscapes – just to name a few.

With the excitement that comes from seeing all these new audio touch points, it’s easy to dismiss the power that still remains in more traditional mediums. The fact is, technological advancements offer us an opportunity to explore new ways to engage consumers through classic touch points.

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great minds on music: an interview with mark tutssel

Armed with a laptop and a digital recorder, Uli Reese, President of iV2, traveled the world in pursuit of some of the top names in the business of advertising. We’ve edited and compiled his conversations with these innovative thinkers into a series we’ve dubbed “Great Minds on Music.” If you’d like to read more of these conversations, selecting this link will aggregate all the interviews for easy viewing. 

“Since I’ve been in the business, it’s always been about: here’s a great idea, here’s a great director, here’s a great story board, here’s a great editor, and, oh yeah, we need some music. Music’s usually been at the end, sometimes unfortunately more of an afterthought rather than front and center, inextricably linked to the idea. ” – Mark Tutssel

GREAT MINDS ON MUSIC: AN INTERVIEW WITH MARK TUTSSEL

Reese: Are you a music lover? How do you feel about music in terms of its marketing potential?

Tutssel: I’ve been looking at some of the work we’ve done at Leo Burnett around the world in the past two or three years and it really demonstrates the many ways of solving a problem using music, or applying music in an interesting fashion, which gives us an insight into music and human behavior. But the first question you asked was, “Do I love music?” And I defy anyone to say “no” to that question. I think music is loved by every human being on the planet. It’s in our system, it’s in our DNA. Think about it: our first introduction to sound is in our mother’s womb. Sound is the first connection people have with humanity, with each other. I grew up in Wales, which is renowned for singing. It’s home to some of the greatest singers in the world. I grew up in a family where music was everywhere: every aspect of my life had music as part of it.

Reese: Is that still the case today?

Tutssel: Well, my nephew Kristian Williams is a musician, under the stage name Eugene Francis Jr.. He’s toured with Coldplay. And my son literally lives for music. He’s the product of the iPod generation, where you can immerse yourself in a vast choice of music. Now he plays the piano, he plays guitar, he plays saxophone, he writes music. He’s one of many that have the ability to create. They write songs, they sing songs, they post them on YouTube, they get their music out there. That ability to be heard, to share it globally, it’s never been easier…Geoffrey Latham once said that “music is the vernacular of the human soul.”  I’ve always thought that was a fantastic quote. Music has the ability to touch you, to move you, and to connect with you…In terms of music in advertising over the years, where do you begin? There’s been so much great work. From signature stings like Marlboro Country right through to Honda GRRR.  And the beloved jingle, which is beginning to resurrect itself.  Richard Russell, my former partner, a copywriter who worked on Honda GRRR — every single day in the office he used to say, “The jingle will be back. The jingle will be back.” Continue reading

great minds on music: an interview with chuck porter

Armed with a laptop and a digital recorder, Uli Reese, President of iV2, traveled the world in pursuit of some of the top names in the business of advertising. We’ve edited and compiled his conversations with these innovative thinkers into a series we’ve dubbed “Great Minds on Music.”

“‘There is no learning without emotion’, and one of the easiest ways to evoke emotion is with music” – Chuck Porter

GREAT MINDS ON MUSIC: AN INTERVIEW WITH CHUCK PORTER

Reese: Let’s start with a question I ask everyone who takes part in this virtual round table: how does a big idea feel? Do you recognise it immediately when it arrives?

Porter: In my experience it varies dramatically. Someone might come into the room and say: “What would happen if Burger King stopped selling Whoppers?” and instantly you say, “Wow, that’s an interesting way of talking about the brand – that could be big.” Other ideas percolate for a while. We had an idea, also for Burger King, called “The Subservient Chicken”. It was a guy in a chicken suit you could control online by typing instructions. “Chicken the way you like it,” was the inspiration behind the campaign. It was one of a few ideas we batted around for while. But it went massively viral – it was huge. I wish they were all instant “wow”, but in my experience they’re not. Sometimes you come up with an idea you think is going to be gigantic, and the response is just so-so. Other things seem kind of interesting, but they explode.

Reese: Let’s move on the big question. How important is music in your work?

Porter: Oh, it’s huge. Music creates emotion. On the wall in my office there’s a quote from Plato from about 350 BC which is: “There is no learning without emotion”, and one of the easiest ways to evoke emotion is with music. Scent is actually easier, but it’s hard to get your audience to smell something. Getting them to listen to music is the next best thing. No matter who you are or where you live, I guarantee I can play a piece of music to you that will take you back to when you were 15 years old. Continue reading

five measurable parameters for successful audio branding

One of the fundamental questions to consider when you’re standing at the intersection of audio and advertising is this: What criteria do I use to inform and guide my audio choices?

Traditionally, agencies and brands have considered audio the realm of “the creatives.” Voice over talent is auditioned, music tracks are selected, creative briefs for composers are written and editors begin editing in post production. As a result, choices are often driven by how well the audio supports the creative vision of a particular campaign, rather than how the audio is communicating the essence of a brand identity.

Audio that supports campaign creative and audio that communicates brand essence need not be mutually exclusive, but both are better served if decisions can be moved away from simply trusting our instincts, and towards developing a more objective set of criteria to guide our choices.  Continue reading

great minds on music: an interview with nick law

It all began as a simple idea: sitting down face-to-face with some of the best minds in the world of advertising, asking for their perspectives on the relationship of music and sound to brands and marketing.

“I don’t think many companies are using sound in as sophisticated of a way as they could be.” – Nick Law

So, armed with a laptop and a digital recorder, Uli Reese, President of iV2, traveled the world in pursuit of some of the top names in the business of advertising. Two years and dozens of interviews later, we’ve edited and compiled his conversations with these innovative thinkers into a series we’ve dubbed “Great Minds on Music.”

GREAT MINDS ON MUSIC: AN INTERVIEW WITH NICK LAW

Reese: How important is sound to a brand?

Law: I think sound is important, and music is important in certain contexts. When I grew up in the advertising industry, before the networked age, it was easy for creative directors to have abstract maxims that rang true. The classic was “less is more.” If you’re creating a piece of print communication, or even a thirty second spot, that’s sort of true: you want people to walk away from that communication with a very concise idea or feeling. But that’s not the only way marketers work today. Another one of the maxims we hear from advertisers, mainly because the industry for many years was driven by 30 second TV spots, is: “It’s all about storytelling.” But now we have media that aren’t just about storytelling, but about frameworks of behavior. I’m holding an iPhone here, and when I turn it on and off it makes a very specific sound. Same when I send an email. There’s an audio layer to this brand that has nothing to do with storytelling and everything to do making functionality apparent. It serves not just to make me feel something about the brand, but to make me understand how the brand is behaving.
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great minds on music: an interview with amir kassaei

Here at iV, we like to say that we live at the “intersection of sound and marketing.” We’re committed to helping brands and agencies communicate brand identities, increasing awareness and equity as they harness the power of sound. As audio branding professionals, we’re constantly working to improve the strategy, execution and measurement services we offer.

Our continual pursuit of knowledge on the subjects of audio and branding sparked an idea: what if we interviewed some of the best minds in the world of advertising, asking for their perspectives on the relationship of music and sound to brands and marketing?

It’s not about the right sound or the right piece of music. It’s about the strategic question “What should my brand sound like?” – Amir Kassaei

To that end, Uli Reese, President of iV2, set off with a laptop and a digital recorder, traveling the world in pursuit of some of the top names in the business of advertising. Two years and dozens of interviews later, we’ve edited and compiled his conversations with these innovative thinkers.

While a book is in the works, we thought the content was far too relevant to keep under wraps any longer. We’ll be releasing portions of these interviews here on our blog. Since these posts will be part of an ongoing series, please make sure you’ve subscribed to the blog – or follow us on facebook and twitter.

We want to thank everyone who shared their insights and ideas so freely with us. There’s much to be learned in the sharing of your stories. So without further adieu, here’s our first installment in our “Great Minds On Music” series, featuring DDB Worldwide Chief Creative Officer, Amir Kassaei. Enjoy!

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two’s company. three’s a crowdsource : a look at audio branding through the crowdsourcing lens

Crowdsourcing has come along way since Jeff Howe coined the term in a 2006 Wired magazine article. It has grown from a problem solving technique to a bona fide business model, forming the foundation for a new breed of service providers who use the power of the internet to benefit from the creativity offered by a hive mind.

Crowdsourced audio assets may be part of an overall strategy. Brands should remember, though, that the goal isn’t to be part of the crowd – but to stand out from it.

The underlying assumption behind crowdsourcing is that by tapping into a virtually limitless pool of creativity, experience and diversity, brands can benefit from a wide variety of creative solutions often at a fraction of the traditional costs. Additionally,when run as an open competition, crowdsourcing offers an opportunity to create brand ambassadors and increase brand awareness by engaging consumers and fans in the act of directly shaping brand identity.
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tooting our own audio branding horn…

Typically, we steer away from talking too much about the work iV is doing to change the conversation about audio branding. From the use of social media like this blog, twitter and facebook to more personal approaches like iV academy and speaking engagements, we do our best to share our passion and knowledge about audio branding with the rest of the world.

Recently, advertising information resource sourceEcreative turned their spotlight on iV. In a special feature on music and sound, Anthony Vagnoni does a wonderful job of capturing our story. So wonderful, in fact, that we wanted to share it with you.

Thanks, as always, for listening!

technology, engagement and new frontiers in audio branding

Once upon a time, we “heard” a brand primarily though commercials that were broadcast via television and radio.

The advent of social media, coupled with technological advancements in recording and playback devices, has opened a whole new world of opportunities for the audio branding enthusiast.

It might have been a spoken phrase with a memorable rhyme that became a positioning line easily remembered. Or a jingle that stuck in your head and kept you humming a brand name through the day. Advertisers hoped that if they were catchy enough, these moments of audio branding would become messages spread by word of mouth, engaging an audience enough to join in a vocal chorus that moved beyond the confines of TV and radio.

That was then. This is now. Continue reading