Using Sound In Advertising to Create Emotional Bonds

Hi, everyone, it’s Stephen Semple Wizard of Ads partner from Toronto, Canada.

What I want to talk about today, we talk about this a lot, especially with our heavy focus on radio, and those types of media are the power of words and the power of using sound in advertising.

So I’m going to share with you a TV commercial that is a great demonstration of the element that sounds and words bring. Now, this is a commercial. It was created for the Ford Mustang when it was being launched in the UK.

Words from the poem “Do not go gentle into that good night” – Dylan Thomas – 1914-1953

“Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Using Sound in Advertising

Now here’s the crazy thing about that commercial. That commercial was banned. It was not allowed to be used in the UK.

Because there were concerns that it would create aggressive driving, now here’s the thing that’s freaky about all of that the car never went more than 15 miles per hour and never went faster than 24 kilometers an hour. So when you’re driving home today, and you’re pulling into your residential neighborhood.

Try to drive for a little while at 15 miles an hour and see really how slow, that is. It’d be like kids on little tricycles will be going past you.

What we’re gonna do is we’re going to do, watch this commercial again without the sound. You’ll see the power that the sound and the words created in this ad.

Using Sound in Advertising, because

Without the sound, it’s kind of boring.

We are engaged in these things before, and it’s not that it’s particularly interesting shots.

Now really take a close look when you see the car.

Pulling out of the underground parking and going down the road and tell me this time. How fast do you think the car is going?

So just both get to the climax of the commercial. Now take a close look and watch the car.

How fast is that car going?

Completely different emotional feeling, and we’re just not nearly as captivated. The thing that got the governing body, the advertising Council, all tied in the knots is when you watch the commercial with the sound.

Listen to the narration that “do not go gently into that good night.” The timing that is happening in the background; we can all feel our emotions kind of rise a little bit and get into this kind of disturbed state. Where, you know, frankly, they had a bit of a point. Where you could see how that if you amped somebody up like that, they actually might go out and tear around and drive overly aggressively in a car, but all of that emotion came from the words that were spoken.

The way it was being narrated. The way the music was used in conjunction with the sound of the car. When the car started up the revving of the engine.

It’s one of the things Ford was attempting to do with this commercial, and I think they did very well, and it’s almost in many ways, too bad that the commercial was banned. We don’t know whether it would have been successful or not. But when you think about the Ford Mustang.

The Ford Mustang is the everyday man’s muscle car. And it’s really not a muscle car. If you look at the size of the engine, the stats, and the acceleration. It’s not all that impressive.

But it’s got this cache. And this brand of rugged individualism and freedom and bucking the trend and being anti-conformist, especially, especially when you think about the Mustang in the UK. If you’ve been to the UK, it is definitely a car that would have a very rebellious feel to it.

How Ford emotionally tried to bring that out in this commercial.

Let’s listen to how they’ve used the sound of the engine in comparison to the speed. The car is moving.

This huge powerful noise that just makes you know – God, I want to get in that car and drive that car. And yet, it’s just really gently driving down the road.

And look Ford’s not the only one who’s done this. Harley Davidson has made a fortune off of this same idea of really capturing the sound and making the sound really a big part of the emotional appeal of the product. Make it that aspirational thing that you want that, you want to have an identity with and purchase.

Harley Davidson example of using sound in advertising

Ford and other manufacturers when they’re creating their product. They’re very conscious of this. There’s no reason for Ford Mustang to sound like that. There’s no reason for Harley Davidson Motorcycle to sound the way that it sounds. But what they know is that sound creates part of the emotional appeal and desire and connection and self-identification with the product.

Look as crazy as that is there supercars out there like McLaren and whatnot, where their settings. So when you’re driving in the car for how the car will sound in the compartment when you’re driving, you can set it for quiet, or you can set it for sporty, or you can set it for all these other things. Because what they’ve all recognized is that’s a big part of where the emotional connection comes from.

The sound the full experience, and you have to be thinking about that when it comes to your products as well and as well. You’re the advertising.

What sounds do you want to convey?

What emotions do you want to convey?

Look if you’re selling something that’s a place that’s fun and loud and eventful things have got sound fun and loud, and eventful.

If you’re selling something is quiet and romantic, it needs to sound quiet and romantic, you need to tap into those senses to draw those emotions to create really powerful ads.

How are you going to use sound in advertising to make that emotional connection with your target audience?

Do not go gentle into that good night

Dylan Thomas – 1914-1953

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

The Ford Commercial

Stephen Semple

The Wizard of Strategy
Stephen always sees the world through the eyes of your customers. His Four Strategic Marketing Decisions give you a lens to filter all marketing opportunities. Stephen’s articles and videos highlight the impact of marketing on your small business.