Music in marketing: mood creator or storyteller? Tesco gives us the answer

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Music has been part of advertising for as long as I can remember. It has gone through a variety of roles in that time, from jingle to soundscape to endorsement to attitudinal attribute driver. Mostly, however, it has played a secondary role to other storytelling elements. This is a mistake. Time and again music has proven its engagement power. Yet we tend to use it to create a mood versus as a central character in our bigger campaign or program story.

Music can captivate the hearts and minds of people like no other form of communication. It connects with the deepest part of our emotional makeup. Let’s not forget that some of the first outside stimulus that children connect with in a positive way is music. This intimate relationship never goes away. As such, we listen more honestly to music than, say, speech. Barriers are down because we want to listen since we associate good feelings with listening. Meanwhile, the marketing and advertising world tend to undervalue the power of music. Fortunately, some get it right.

Tesco, a supermarket chain in the UK, have recently used music in a way that really leverages its power to the fullest. For their holiday program, they understood that music played a central role to the festive spirit and thus celebrated this role throughout all elements of the marketing mix, using it to drive conversations, using it to ignite old memories, using it to truly make the holiday season in 2012 more memorable for all (and especially Tesco shoppers). Wieden + Kennedy London found a brilliant way to  use music that brought to life key holiday moments. These stories made the foundation of their campaign that amplified into partner playlists, Twitter promotions, social media follow-up content, and more. The results say it all: Tesco performed its best in years for the holiday season and outpaced its competition. It truly does prove that if you can activate the emotions buried in music and clearly connect it to your story, success is not far behind.


Tesco Christmas case study from Wieden + Kennedy London on Vimeo.

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