Tag Archives: interview

great minds on music: an interview with james hilton

James Hilton AKQA Co-founder,  shares his insights in this edition of our “Great Minds on Music” series. “Great Minds on Music” is a series of conversations with some of the top names in the business of advertising and Uli Reese, President of iV2. If you’d like to read more from these innovative thinkers, selecting this link will aggregate all the interviews for easy viewing.

GREAT MINDS ON MUSIC: AN INTERVIEW WITH JAMES HILTON

Reese: So let’s dive 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.

“I don’t speak in musical terms, I don’t know the difference between a quaver or a semi-quaver, but I understand emotion…” – James Hilton

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.”

Reese:  So you believe it’s possible to modify the behavior of consumers?

Hilton: You’re not creating new behaviors, you’re tapping into existing behaviors and amplifying them by using different musical genres. Continue reading

great minds on music : an interview with sir john hegarty

In this edition of our “Great Minds on Music” series, we sit down in London with Sir John Hegarty, Chairman & Worldwide Creative Director of Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH). “Great Minds on Music” is a series of conversations with some of the top names in the business of advertising and Uli Reese, President of iV2. If you’d like to read more from these innovative thinkers, selecting this link will aggregate all the interviews for easy viewing.

GREAT MINDS ON MUSIC: AN INTERVIEW WITH SIR JOHN HEGARTY

Reese: How important is music in building a brand?

Hegarty: I would answer that in a slightly different way. Music is incredibly powerful when it’s part of a message which in turn is helping to build a brand. Brands are built out of stories. Of course they begin with the product – but the brand, what it means to people, how they respond to it, is built out of stories about that brand: where it comes from, who founded it, its vision…and you can communicate those things in a number of different ways. Film is one of them – and in that context music is fundamentally important.

Reese: Agreed.

“…truth is one of the most powerful forces in communication. Great musicians find a truth, they tap into a feeling that resonates, that you believe in.” – Sir John Hegarty

Hegarty: It’s hard to overestimate how important it is. Music can transform a message. It doesn’t transform the narrative structure – but it can change the meaning of that structure. So why is that? The thing about music is that it’s an almost purely emotional medium. A tune can have absolutely no meaning apart from the emotional response to it. A story has to have a meaning, a structure. In music the meaning is absolutely connected to your soul and your heart – it’s just something you feel.

Reese: It’s true that songs don’t need a narrative.

Hegarty: As James Stephens says in his wonderful book The Crock of Gold, “what the heart feels today the head will know tomorrow”. In other words, we’re emotional creatures. We take in information through the heart – and that’s where music goes in. That’s what makes it so powerful. Continue reading

great minds on music : an interview with josh rabinowitz

In this edition of our “Great Minds on Music” series, we’re picking the brain of Josh Rabinowitz, Senior Vice President/Director of Music for the Grey Group. “Great Minds on Music” is a series of conversations with some of the top names in the business of advertising and Uli Reese, President of iV2. If you’d like to read more from these innovative thinkers, selecting this link will aggregate all the interviews for easy viewing.

GREAT MINDS ON MUSIC: AN INTERVIEW WITH JOSH RABINOWITZ

Reese: I like to use these interviews to address a question that I think many brands and agencies ask, though the answer seems elusive. It’s this: can the right choice of music by a brand change consumer behavior?

Rabinowitz: I think it can. Science proves that sound, and particularly music, stays with us longer than anything else. If you think about jingles, they plant seeds in your brain that are difficult to remove – they lock themselves in there. Whereas with images and concepts, it’s more fleeting. They can have an effect, but it’s shorter term.

“…the problem is that music isn’t often done right when it comes to branding. There have been very few effective executions over the years…Unfortunately, what happens is that somebody finds a piece of music they think is cool, they put it on [the spot], and often it overshadows the concept.” – Josh Rabinowitz

Reese: I always say we’re in the “remembering business.” But do you think a music can help us love a brand more? It seems we don’t buy brands because they’re better or cheaper, we buy them because we fall in love with them. Can we accomplish that with music?

Rabinowitz: If it’s done right…the problem is that music isn’t often done right when it comes to branding. There have been very few effective executions over the years. But memory is an important part of our behavior, so you can definitely use it to plant ideas inside people. It reminds me of the movie Inception, which is about planting ideas in peoples’ minds. I think music is able to do that. And if it’s done right, there can be a lot of love. Unfortunately, what happens is that somebody finds a piece of music they think is cool, they put it on [the spot], and often it overshadows the concept.

Reese: But when is it done right? Continue reading

great minds on music : an interview with sudeep gohil

“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.

GREAT MINDS ON MUSIC: AN INTERVIEW WITH SUDEEP GOHIL

Reese: Let’s start by considering how important music is to your work. I know you have a strong musical background: you DJ and you have a SoundCloud channel called, “Deep Mix”. You also have a strategic planning history. How does all that work together?

“We’re getting to the point [in advertising] where there is so much clutter that a sting becomes even more important. People are beginning to think, ‘Actually…I could do something more interesting with the one and a half seconds at the end of every commercial…’” – Sudeep Gohil

Gohil: I’ve always been really interested in music. When I was a kid I used to play in bands. I learned to play bass guitar. I was in a band when I was in Australia, but because I was the bass player I was always at the back. We were playing Hendrix and Led Zeppelin… but I wanted to do something more complicated, like Living Colour….I thought Vernon Reid was the most awesome bass player I’d ever heard. But the band didn’t want to do that kind of stuff. And then I went back to London to visit my cousins, and they gave me  — a tape, I suppose — of Technotronic.

Reese: Technotronic?

Gohil:  You know: “Pump Up the Jam”? And I realized that while electronic music was a kind of niche in Australia, it was massive in the UK. So suddenly I wanted to DJ too. For my 14th or 15th birthday, my parents flew over a set of turntables and a mixer from London as a gift.  Everything changed, because I was in control. I was at the front instead of the back! We’d put on a party in a social club or a town hall and it was just insane: hundreds and hundreds of people. When I finished high school, I realized I could do the same thing on an even bigger scale. We started doing warehouse parties and so on. We were making more money than we knew what to do with! Continue reading

great minds on music : an interview with tom o’keefe

In this edition of our “Great Minds on Music” series, Uli Reese, President of iV2, catches up with Tom O’Keefe, Draftfcb Executive Creative Director, North America, at his office in Chicago. “Great Minds on Music” is a collection of interviews with some of the top names in the advertising industry, engaging them in conversations about music, audio and advertising.  If you’d like to read more from these innovative thinkers, selecting this link will aggregate all the interviews for easy viewing. 

GREAT MINDS ON MUSIC: AN INTERVIEW WITH TOM O’KEEFE

Reese: What role does music play in your work as an advertising agency?  How important is it?

“…no matter how well you write a piece of dialog, or how well the visual elements come together, I think music is the thing that moves you the most” – Tom O’Keefe

O’Keefe: I think you can’t separate music from what we do as advertisers or as an agency. It’s always been part of the emotional context of a brand. It’s there to tap into your feelings – and hopefully get you to like a brand more because you’re affected by the music, whether you’re aware of that or not. There are times when you hear something and you’re like, “I love that music!” And other times where you’re not consciously aware of it, but it still moves you in a certain way. There was a classic era of jingles that stuck in your head, then we moved to an era where music is now probably more original, or at least about associating known songs, with brands. Now I’m hearing a lot about audio mnemonics and audio signatures and discussion about what brands sound like. Maybe that’s because the ubiquity of communication means you’ve got to be that much clearer about what your sound is.

Reese:  Can you talk a little bit about your process? When you’re creating a campaign, when and how does the music fit into the process?

O’Keefe: I think it should be from the start.  And unfortunately too often it’s looked at as an afterthought. You’ve gone through the idea, you’ve gone through some of the production process and then it’s suddenly: “Well, what’s the music going to be?” When really, music should be there from the beginning, because it helps you clarify the brand’s voice. I’ve done campaigns where music has been the driver from the beginning.  In fact, I’ve done the classic “when you don’t know what to say, sing it.” But even then we had to find the right vibe for the brand. I’m thinking of one in particular for amazon.com, about ten years ago, called “The Sweater Men.” And they were singing the strategy, OK?  They were singing prices and sales and deliveries and toys and inventory. It was self-effacing, it had a sense of humor, it had this kind of quirky retro kind of a vibe and this was all a reflection of Amazon’s brand at the time.

Continue reading

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.”

Continue reading

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

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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