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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


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