Nowadays it is almost impossible to escape the sounds of music. Beginning with your morning alarm, music can be heard throughout the day whether through a ringtone, car stereo, speakers, or even advertisements. Many companies are harping on this trend by finding ways to integrate particular artists, bands and up-and-coming music groups into their brands.
The use of music is a strategic marketing tactic because it helps to bridge the gap between companies and consumers by allowing them to share similar lifestyles. If the music used in advertisements positively resonates with the audience, then it is likely that the product will, in-turn, be portrayed positively. According to Simmons and Simmons, “Consumers who live part of their lives through music are passionate people who care about the content they chose to engage in.” This is why the use of music must match the purpose of the message in order to be memorable and thus successful.
The Uses and Gratifications Theory can also be incorporated into this idea of music and branding. This theory deals with how people use media to their advantage, either to gain something or form some sort of image/relationship with something else. Consumers are also able to use the media for reference to gain knowledge about a brand and their products. In this case, brands are using music to help form their image and how they want to be seen by their publics. By purposefully incorporating artists that they think will further their particular commercial, campaign or even runway show, brands can use music to solidify their message and image.
Taco Bell’s commercial for Doritos Locos Tacos incorporates the use of music by featuring “Take a Walk” by Passion Pit. The commercial features the quick paced song along with multiple snapshots of tacos piling up on top of each other while moving across the screen. At the end of the ad, the voiceover says “Taking tacos where no one thought they would go.” This is a small but memorable connection to the title of the song played in the background and would be noticeable to anyone who knew the title or heard the lyrics. The message Taco Bell was trying to send their audience was that their tacos are easy to take on-the-go and are able to be eaten everywhere.
Can you think of any examples of how a brand has used a popular artist in their commercial? How has the music affected the way you think of the brand or company?
I think that by using that song by Passion Pit (which was incredibly popular not that long ago) was a really smart move on Taco Bell’s part. Not only would that song catch the attention of people that were already fans of the song, but the way that they connected their brand to the photos and the music was actually really interesting. Now obviously this commercial probably impacted Passion Pit as occasional listeners were like, “oh, it’s that song from the Taco Bell commercial!” (remember that song from the iPod commercial where the silhouettes were dancing with the vibrant colors?), but I don’t think it works the same for Taco Bell. “It’s that company that used the Passion Pit song in one of their commercials” just doesn’t seem like something that you’d hear people saying.