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The Effects of Music in Advertising

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Effects of Popular Music in Advertising on Attention and IVIemory

DAVID ALLAN Saint Joseph 's University dallan@sju.edu

This study examines the effects of popuiar music in advertising to determine both the theoreticai (the effect of popular music on the processing of advertising messages) and practicai (the design of more effective advertisements using popuiar music) impiications. An experiment is reported that tested the effects of three integrations of popuiar music in advertising: originai iyrics, aitered iyrics, and instrumentais (plus a controi treatment with no music) on attention and memory. The results indicated that song vocais, either originai or altered, are more effective stimuii of advertising effects than instrumentais
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In this research "popular music" is defined as "well-liked and well-favoured" (Middleton, 1990) music for "ordinary people" (Shuker, 1994) that has wide mass media exposure, but usually only for a fixed period of time. Its impact is either overstated or understated. Yet, it is an important part of both a thriving cultural and entertainment environment. To some it is a business and to others it is a way of life. While many would argue its cultural contribution to society (Adorno, 1941; Horkheimer and Adorno, 1944; Peatman, 1944), few would argue its potential to impact and to influence individuals. Advertising inspires ambivalence equal to that of popular music. Advertising is defined as "the paid, nonpersonal communication of information about products or ideas by an identified sponsor through the mass media in an effort to persuade or influence behavior" (Bovee, Thill, Dovel, and Wood, 1995, p. 4). Ironically, communication theorist Marshall McLuhan called it "the greatest art form of the twentieth century" (Andrews, 1987, p. 5). But advertising pioneer David Ogilvy said he did not regard it as an art form but as "a medium of information" (Ogilvy, 1983, p. 7). Both McLuhan and Ogilvy

would agree that advertising is everywhere throughout society. Whether you agree it cultivates or contaminates, mirrors or manipulates that society, you cannot avoid it. While there is a considerable amount of disagreement on the societal implications of the practice of using
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