How Music Helps People Form Emotional Connections with Brands

For most of us, music is an essential part of everyday life. No matter what mood we’re in, putting on some music always seems to make us feel better. Each person has unique tastes in music, but nonetheless, songs have the ability to connect people in ways other media cannot. We can easily associate songs with memories and experiences, and essentially relieve certain moments just by hearing a specific song. Nostalgia plays a huge role in the human consciousness, and music is among the few outlets that can easily tap into this space.

Marketers and advertisers know this too well, that’s why the most successful visual ad campaigns and commercials have music incorporated in them. It’s long been established that emotion also drives sales, however, accurately tapping into this space requires a lot of planning and research. Not only that, but choosing the right song for your marketing campaign can do wonders for your brand in terms of identity, engagement, and the willingness for your clients to invest in or buy your product.

In this day and age, brands desperately need to stand out if they want to make a dent in our society. Just as soundtracks are crucial elements in movies, so is music in advertisement. Music helps us paint a better picture of the environment we’re in, whether we’re using it for movies, ads, or simply enjoying a car ride. Songs have a way of grabbing our attention, and catchy hooks are known to stay inside our heads long after we’ve heard them. So for example, if a commercial has a catchy song and we hear it constantly, we’re soon going to sing it in our heads, and without us even realizing it, we’re going to associate the song with the brand.

This is how brands choose the right music

First off, let’s start out with one of the worst ways brands choose music for their commercials: by choosing the music as a fan. Your preference in music won’t determine the success of your brand. For example, if you’re working on a commercial or a TV spot to sell a specific pizza brand, chances are that your favorite song won’t do the trick. Making sure the rhythm of a song is in sync with what is actually happening in the commercial is highly important, and creates a certain flow.

The point is, choosing the right song has a lot to do with the atmosphere of the commercial and the specific emotion you as a brand want to transmit to your customers. Sometimes, you can have a brilliant idea of an ad, but can’t seem to find the perfect song or sound to complete your vision, and you may be in need of an original composition. Here at Cutting Room Music, we are always keen to help creatives realize their vision by adding original music to their production, whether it be movies, TV shows or commercials.

Old McDonald had a farm…

There are countless examples of how music influenced certain commercials and brands, and popularity for both the artists and brands skyrocketed thanks to top-notch advertising and music selection. Before we list a couple of popular examples, let’s take a second and talk about one of the longest-running ad campaigns: McDonalds’ “I’m Lovin’ It” ad.

Pretty much everybody recognizes the famous “I’m Lovin’ It” tune, whether it’s sung or just hummed in McDonald’s commercials. The reason this particular ad sticks out is because, usually, brands pick a song that has already been released, but McDonalds had a different approach. Instead of just picking a song, they secretly hired top producer Pharrell Williams to produce a song for Justin Timberlake and just release it, without the public knowing that McDonald’s is behind the song.

Justin Timberlake’s “I’m Lovin’ It” was received pretty well, and soon started charting. McDonald’s idea was to make a song that will get stuck in people’s heads, before they actually associated it with the company. After a few months, McDonalds released their first-ever commercial featuring the song, and it was an instant hit. They meticulously planned everything.

Mind you, all of this was happening back in 2003, when McDonald’s shares were plummeting. They needed a miracle, and it’s pretty impressive that a strategically released song did the job. They worked with a really creative marketing agency to pull all of this off. The result? One of the longest-running ad campaigns in history was made, their market shares increased, and “pa-ra-pa-pa-pa, i’m lovin’ it” became a household slogan.

Popular songs that made brands famous

1. ‘Are You Gonna Be My Girl’ for Apple iPod

Jet’s “Are You Gonna Be My Girl,” coupled with the ecstatic visuals of the iPod commercial made the device an instant hit, and everybody wanted one. The silhouettes, dancing and white headphone cables, coupled with one of the greatest party songs, brought Apple millions. 

2. ‘In the Air Tonight’ for Cadbury

The classic Cadbury commercial featuring a Gorilla drumming along Phill Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” became very popular after being released. It was an instant classic, and made the chocolate incredibly sought-after thanks to the song.

3. ‘Only Time’ for Volvo

Jean-Claude Van Damme doing a split between two moving Volvo trucks, with Enya’s “Only Time” playing in the background is probably one of the most iconic commercials ever. The commercial instantly went viral, and now, every time we hear the song, we think about Volvo.

The list can go on forever. Nike, KitKat, Levi’s and countless other brands used songs in their commercials, and most of the ads did wonders for their product.


By now, you probably understand just how important a song is in a commercial. It can literally change how people view your brand overnight. Even if the song isn’t popular, if the commercial is creative and bold, it can make both your brand and the artist famous. Here at Cutting Room Music, we are all about seeing your vision come to fruition with the help of music. 

We are a team of highly passionate and dedicated composers who can bring any visual work to life with the help of music. If you have a project that you’ve been working on, and you’re in need of original compositions to give you work that final edge, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We can’t wait to hear your idea and discuss how we can help you breathe life into your work with music.

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