FEATURE: Music - Music is a powerful tool which can be used to stir emotions, create atmosphere and aid narrative flow. It can literally make or break an ad

"My goal is to uplift people as much as I can. To inspire them to realise more and more of their capacities for living meaningful lives, because there certainly is meaning to life."

The legendary saxophonist John Coltrane recognised the power of music and succeeded in inspiring audiences worldwide. One fan compared the sense of awe he engendered to "a volcano or a mind-boggling religious experience".

When music can have this kind of impact, it seems incredible that it is not used to better effect within communications. Music companies are frequently frustrated at how sound is often an after-thought, tagged on to the end of the creative process.

Then there is the "needledrop" approach - listening out for the latest cool track and sticking it on to an ad in the hope that it will inject the ad and product with a similar sense of cool. The danger is that everyone goes for the same track, resulting in reduced stand-out and memorability.

There are those who recognise the important role that sound can play beyond creating atmosphere. According to Daniel Simmons producer and founding partner at Hub: "It can put the actions and therefore the product into a context in terms of class, age, attitude and therefore can be used to aim the product squarely at a particular market."

Mike Shaw, a music consultant at BooseyMedia, part of music giant Boosey & Hawkes, adds that music can help create an emotional reason for choosing a brand when a rational one doesn't exist.

Some of the most creative uses of sound and music in advertising have been down to one of the hottest names in the business, Peter Raeburn, managing director of Soundtree. It was Raeburn who suggested using the Leftfield sample on the iconic Guinness 'Surfer', distorting and layering the sound to add depth and intrigue to the cinematic visuals.

He often works with sound designer Johnnie Burn at Wave and the pair collaborated on the Guinness ad 'Dreamer', pitching the upbeat Summer Samba against some dark images.

Follow the Yellow Brick Road, is used to similar effect in the Wrangler ad. The beautiful yet disturbing montage of prairies and urban backwaters is accompanied by this cutesy track making the whole spot all the more unusual.

On the tape, Raeburn discusses the ways that music can be used in an ad and the advantages and disadvantages of scoring original music as opposed to licensing songs.

We also interview Srdjan Kurpjel, the sound designer and musician responsible for the sounds in Metz 'Judderman'. Kurpjel's eery Eastern European track augments the ad's cold, dark atmosphere.

The process of selecting music for ads is not always a smooth one. Our interview with members of Amber music, including managing director Michelle Curran, reveals some successful ways of working.

Finally, we talk to creative-turned-director Tom Carty, who is obsessive about finding the right music, to the point of spending days in Cuban record shops to find the track for Guinness' 'Bet on Black' snails spot.

We think it was worth it.

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