Music and jingles have been a part of advertising since the very early stages of mass communication. This is because advertisers know that consumers form an emotional connection to music, much more so than plain-language messages. So how exactly does this process work?

Here are a few ways in which lyrics and song can be used in your advertisements to get through to your target audience:

Emotional Persuasion

It is well known that a “feel good” song can make listeners feel happy while sad songs can make listeners feel, well, sad. This is because musical communication creates a deeper empathic and, from a scientific perspective, neurologic connection in a listener than plain-language communication can.

Due to this, music can be used to evoke an emotional connection in a few different ways. The most basic way to create an emotional connection with your target audience is by using positive music to associate positivity with your brand. Although positive music is not required to create a successful advertisement, the basic rule of thumb here is to use music that reflects the emotion you would like to instill in your customer base. From this jumping-off point you can alter your music to achieve specific goals in many different ways, a few examples include:

  • Adding lyrics to specifically mention your brand and build awareness.
  • Using well known public domain music to grab the attention of listeners who are familiar with it.
  • Creating unique and catchy compositions that separate your brand from the crowd.
  • Utilizing tempo to focus on your specific customer base. For example, a fast-paced song may be ideal for an upbeat coffee commercial while a soft, relaxing rhythm may work better for a travel agency offering vacation getaway packages.

Instrumentation vs Lyricism

Both the lyrical and instrumental aspects of music play distinct and powerful roles in the persuasive effect of an advertisement.

Lyrical content can help achieve the “song-stuck-in-head” syndrome that helps engrain a brand within a consumer’s memory. People are far better at remembering things when they can place a beat or rhythm to them. Musically wording a certain message assists brand recall and recognition. Listen briefly to the lyrics in following advertisement, created by Honda for the 2017 holiday season, to see this effect in action:

Honda Holiday Commercial

This advertisement featured lyrics that were relatable to the customer base Honda was trying to reach, those who needed a family friendly vehicle for traveling and running errands. The catchy beat and the fact that it is rehash of a well-known song make for a memorable advertisement.

Instrumental content, on the other hand, is more impactful when it comes to reaching a consumer’s emotional side. Note the following two contrasting, yet similarly designed advertisements:

U.S. Army Commercial

Animal Shelter PSA Commercial

Both use plain-spoken language and an instrumental backdrop. The Army commercial features instrumentation that instills feelings of greatness, empowerment, and strength while the animal shelter commercial uses melancholy instrumentation that invokes sympathy. Both instrumentals work towards the advertiser’s goals of instilling an emotion that encourages action. The actions and messages in these particular cases are joining the military to be part of a greater cause and donating to help animals because of empathy for their condition.


This is an important factor when it comes to using music in advertising. Consumers are often faced with multiple forms of media competing for their attention throughout their day. As a result, consumers have very short attention spans when it comes to advertising. Short and to the point is the most successful form of musical content in advertising, so you may want to leave your power ballads at home for this one.

Remember, there are many ways to get in touch with your customer base. Using an optimal advertising strategy, specific to your target market, is key to growing your brand and achieving your business goals. If your business is in need of a new marketing plan to promote your brand, contact Jessica Chabot, Vice President, Client Services of Millennium Agency at