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Intelligently use of music can create brand's sonic signature

Blondie belting out 'Call Me!' may be the ideal song to be reminded that somebody's giving you a tinkle, but it loses out hopelessly to a rash of ad jingles that are doubling up as ringtones.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Jul 18, 2012, 02.24 AM IST
Intelligently use of music can create brand's sonic signature
This year we celebrate the birth of two global musical events. One, the song and dance legend from Hollywood's Golden Age, Gene Kelly's 100th birth anniversary and the 60th anniversary of the best musical movie ever, Singin' In The Rain. And two, the 50th anniversary of a song also made famous by Kelly's pal, Frank Sinatra.

It's the quintessential bossa tune, one that ol' blue eyes and many others sang and thus gave this genre of music a new global identity.

From the original versions performed by Pery Ribeiro (in Portuguese titled Garota de Ipanema) and the international hit version sung by Astrud Gilberto (in English with legends Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto) to renditions by Nat King Cole, Dionne Warwick and much later Amy Winehouse.

'The Girl from Ipanema' remains the second most recorded pop song in history according to reports. Furthermore, if you haven't heard it, it matters little or not at all which generation you belong to, all you need is a little YouTube, really, or an express elevator ride.

So it's only fitting we start this particular story with a reference to these cultural and entertainment icons and some of the biggest tunes of their time. In the recent past many advertising commercials have used the extravagant musical method for their campaigns.

There's Vodafone's Facebook Broadway number and Indigo's musical dazzler at 30,000 feet, among others. Also there are those who have used music in a far more respectful fashion, rather than just a shoddy jingle very often slapped on at the very end of the advertising creation process.

Now, "the sun's in my heart. And I'm ready for love" are not lines one hears often when a mobile phone goes off. But 'Har Ek Friend Zaroori Hota Hai' is and so is Tata Docomo's wordless jingle. Alcohol brand Royal Challenge may be constrained by law when it comes to its advertising but its song 'Hausla Ho Buland' with Kailash Kher on vocals was top on the ring-tone charts.

And then there's A R Rahman belting out 'Hum Mein Hai Hero', Hero Moto-Corp's jingle, how many times have you heard that one ring? Thums Up's 'Aaj Kuch Toofani Karthey Hain' is now being converted into a modern youth anthem. The jingle cum ringtone also is a clever way of extending the expiry date on campaigns particularly in this the digital age where what's new today is old yesterday.

More and more agencies, often prompted by the popularity of the jingle on social networks or video sharing sites, are uploading their tunes for consumers to download and play as ringtones and caller-tunes, leaving people with something to remember the ad by long after its had its 30 seconds of fame.

Recently, Vodafone was inundated with queries about the bossa-esque sound the agency used in its latest commercial for Vodafone Delights.The makers of the commercial say a lot a care and thought goes into the process of creating the musical identity of the brand.

"All of us," says Rajiv Rao, national creative director, Ogilvy India, "and particularly Prakash (Varma of Nirvana Films) are involved in the process. We look for beautiful tunes that stick and people want to share. It's melodious, the character and tonality of music is always very Vodafone." If Bollywood's thumping sound can double up as ringer tones then why not a jingle?

The power of music over man and the sound of a brand are critical notes in the composition to some at least. Rajiv Raja, founder, BrandMusiq and former NCD of DDB Mudra insists brand owners and ad makers ask themselves this question: what role do you want music to play for your brand?

It must start with the brand and be treated with care, rigour and even strategically. "When music is used intelligently it can become your brand's sonic signature. You can hear it from another room and know which brand it belongs to." And if you can get your consumer to dial, download and more importantly share your tune with their world, then that ought to be enough to put the sun in any marketer's heart.

For Abhijit Rajan, copy supervisor, Ogilvy Bangalore, it is a very different thrill to have people watch, and listen to a campaign he worked on and then have viewers asking about the music in the commercial; in this case the Titan campaign with filmstar Katrina Kaif on a road-trip with her mother.

A lot of the musical direction in ad films is driven by the production houses working on that film and Rajan,who wrote the song, is quick to point out the fact. "People have been using music and songs to tell stories for as long as we have existed," he says.Now it's only a matter of broadening the format and using music in advertising in new and particularly intriguing ways.

On that note, fancy a trip to the local seaside cafe for some inspiration to walk by, just "like a samba that swings so cool and sways so gentle." Well, it worked for the writers of The Girl From Ipanema.

Jingles You Wouldn't Want To Be Caught Dead With As A Ringtone/Caller tune

Nirma: Washing powder Nirma,. Washing powder Nirma; Doodh si safedi...

BE: Great jingle, but let's face it; just not ringtone material is it?

Liril: la la…

BE: If this is the best you can come up with, ask yourself — wouldn't you be happier with a phone you couldn't carry around and with a big fat dial on its face?

OCM: Oh! See him, O - C - M. Oh! See him

BE: Recommended only if you are an interrogator at Guantanamo Bay

Lijjat Papad: Karram kurram, saath swad mein Lijjat

BE: Singing bunnies or banshees what's the difference really?

Canada Dry: Cool, cool, Canada. Cool, cool Canada; Clearly above the ordinary....

BE: If you need the word 'cool' repeated over and over in your ring tone, you probably aren't now and aren't ever going to be.

Vicco: Vicco Turmeric nahi cosmetic...

BE: If it rings while at the cinema during the break ad-run, don't worry.
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