Mastercard dethrones McDonald's to be named best audio brand

Runners-up include Shell, Apple and Google.

Mastercard: brand jumped 71 places from last year's ranking
Mastercard: brand jumped 71 places from last year's ranking

Mastercard has been named best audio brand of the year by sonic branding agency Amp.

The 2020 Best Audio Brands ranking – which measures brand performance against criteria including trust, recognition, engagement and efficiency –  saw Mastercard jump 71 places from last year to claim the top spot, beating 2019 winner McDonald’s.

While Amp credits the success of Mastercard and second-placed Shell to their "holistic sonic identity", Apple, Google and Amazon were praised for their "use of brand voice and voice technologies".

Michele Arnese, global chief executive of Amp, said: "Best Audio Brands 2020 clearly shows that brands that have embraced a holistic sonic identity are indisputably reaping the benefits that come with one. 

"It is great to see how quickly Mastercard has embraced a holistic sonic identity and managed to implement it across a variety of touchpoints, making it a central element of their multisensory marketing strategy."

The payment brand launched a new "sonic identity" – a melodic theme that can be used in various ways – at the start of 2019. In January, it released the first track from an album of musical collaborations incorporating the theme.

Arnese continued: "Based on a sonic DNA, this approach offers the best balance between creative flexibility and recognition, compared to a mere one-melody or jingle-based approach."

The table also observed a drop in the use of sonic logos by brands, falling from 56% in 2019 to 32.5% this year. 

For example, while 2019 winner McDonald’s gained global acclaim for its "I’m lovin' it" jingle, the fast-food chain’s use of it dropped from 95% to 44% in the past year.

Bjorn Thorleifsson, creative strategist and team lead at Amp, added: "It’s clear that a single sonic asset isn’t sufficient to develop brand equity, given the rapidly changing ecosystem of consumer touchpoints. 

"We might see brands with a strong sonic logo heritage, such as Intel or McDonald’s, embrace a new holistic sonic strategy moving forward. BAB 2020 shows that another sonic asset has become increasingly important this year: voice." 

Listen to Amp count down the top 10

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