While music has always been an important part of television commercials, more and more advertisers are using popular songs in their ads that resonate with consumers and help keep their products and services top-of-mind. Songs from artists and rock groups such as Madonna, Sting, Bob Seger, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones,and the Beatles serve as the backdrop in commercials for just about everything, including cars, beer, fast food, computers, and insurance. Nike pioneered the commercial use of music from major artists in 1987 when it featured the original recording of the classic Beatle's song "Revolution" in ads for its shoes. Cadillac recently struck a multimillion-dollar deal with Led Zeppelin to use the legendary band's song "Rock and Roll" in its commercials. Service companies are also using popular songs as part of their ads as well. Tax preparation firm H&R Block recently used the words and music to the Beatle's tune "Tax Man," while AllState Insurance uses the famous group's "When I'm 64" to help sell life insurance.
There are a number of reasons why companies are paying large sums of money to use popular songs in their commercials. Music plays an important role in setting the tone for a commercial and can be used for entertainment, to target an audience, and/or to create an emotional or nostalgic connection with the viewer. When advertisers marry the right song with the right product, they can strike a responsive chord with consumers, which gets them to attend to the commercial and can help differentiate the company or brand. For example, ads for Chevrolet trucks began using Bob Seger's hit song "Like a Rock" in 1991, and the agency made it the tagline for one of the most successful and long-lasting campaigns in automotive advertising. The manager for Chevy trucks says,"It is not just a marketing campaign. It captures the soul of the brand. It is how to build a truck, it is how to run a company."
Other companies have also used the lyrics of a song to help deliver their advertising message. Microsoft paid a reported $12 million to the Rolling Stones for the use of its song "Start Me Up," which was featured in ads for its Windows 95 operating system. Six years later the company used the song from another megastar when it tapped Madonna for a multimillion deal to use the Material Girl's Grammy Award-winning song "Ray of Light" to introduce its new XP software. The creative director at McCann-Erickson, in San Francisco, which created the ad campaign, noted that the lyrics of the song were exactly what the agency was looking for to use in commercials for a technology product like the XP software. The upbeat electric song uses phrases like "faster then the speeding light she's flying." He also noted that the agency wanted music from an artist with some weight and star power and Madonna fit the bill because she still remains relevant and cool without being trendy.
For many years, many popular singers and rock groups would not allow their songs to be used in commercials. However, artists have learned that the benefits, exposure, and money often far outweigh an
outdated concern over the stigma of selling out to the advertising world. As it becomes more difficult to get airtime or become part of a radio station's playlist, many artists are finding that the exposure from commercials can actually help sell their music. For example, Sting sold the rights to his song "Desert Rose" to Jaguar for a commercial in March 2000. The song, which did not fit well with radio playlists, lingered on Billboard's top 100 list but didn't become a hit until the commercial started airing. "Start the Commotion" by the Wiseguys was released in 1999 but didn't hit Billboard's top 40 list until it was featured in a commercial for the Mitsubishi Eclipse two years later. A newly commissioned recording of "Ooh La La," originally performed by the Faces in 1973, is a key part of a Mitsubishi Galant commercial, and sales of the song have more than doubled since the ad debuted.
While more companies than ever are using music in their ads, an important issue for all of them is using it effectively and making sure the song fits with the advertiser's message. For example, Mitsubishi has made music a key element of its commercials, which usually show a group of young, fun adults in the car bopping to the beat or singing to the tunes of songs such as "Start the Commotion" or "One Week" by the Barenaked Ladies. An executive for the Deutsch agency, which creates the ads, notes that the message the ads want to communicate, without actually saying it, is that "Cool people drive cool cars," and this campaign is about unspoken coolness. Apparently consumers are getting the message from the music as the coolness created by the ads has helped increase awareness of the Mitsubishi brand and its appeal to younger car buyers.
Watching television commercials these days is almost like turning the radio dial as more songs, from every kind of era and every kind of artist, can be heard during the commercial breaks. And as more artists open to the idea of having their music used in ads, it is likely we will hear our favorite songs as part of the pitch for a variety of products and services.
Sources: Donna De Marc,"TV Ads Go Pop," Washington Times, May 12,2002, p. Al; Jean Halliday,"Caddy Goes 'Rock and Roll,'" Advertising Age, Feb. 4,2002, p. 3; Joe Urschel, "Three Words That Evolved into a Corporate Hymn," USA Today, Feb. 19,1996. p. 6B.
Planning and Production of TV Commercials One of the first decisions that has to be made in planning a TV commercial is the type of appeal and execution style that will be used. Television is well suited to both rational and emotional advertising appeals or combinations of the two. Various execution styles used with rational appeals, such as a straight sell or announcement, demonstration, testimonial, or comparison, work well on TV.
Advertisers recognize that they need to do more than talk about, demonstrate, or compare their products or services. Their commercials have to break through the clutter and grab viewers' attention; they must often appeal to emotional, as well as rational, buying motives. Television is essentially an entertainment medium, and many advertisers recognize that their commercials are most successful when they entertain as well as inform. Many of the most popular advertising campaigns are characterized by commercials with strong entertainment value, like the "Whassup?" campaign for Budweiser, the humorous "Got milk" ads, musical spots for the Gap, and the many stylish and engaging Nike ads. Some of the most popular commercials recently have been those created for Volkswagen's "Drivers wanted" campaign, which explores drivers' life experiences with their VWs36 (Exhibit 9-25). TV is particularly well suited to drama; no other advertising medium can touch emotions as well. Various emotional appeals such as humor, fear, and fantasy work well on TV, as do dramatizations and slice-of-life executions.
Planning the Commercial The various elements of a TV commercial are brought together in a script, a written version of a commercial that provides a detailed description of its video and audio content. The script shows the various audio components of the commercial—the copy to be spoken by voices, the music, and sound effects. The video portion of the script provides the visual plan of the commercial—camera actions and angles, scenes, transitions, and other important descriptions. The script also shows how the video corresponds to the audio portion of the commercial.
Once the basic script has been conceived, the writer and art director get together to produce a storyboard, a series of drawings used to present the visual plan or layout of a proposed commercial. The storyboard contains still drawings of the video scenes and
Volkswagen's award-winning commercials are some of the most popular in recent years
Drivtc. Aontid descriptions of the audio that accompanies each scene. Like layouts for print ads, storyboards provide those involved in the production and approval of the commercial with a good approximation of what the final commercial will look like. In some cases an animatic (a videotape of the storyboard along with the soundtrack) may be produced if a more finished form of the commercial is needed for client presentations or pretesting.
Production Once the storyboard or animatic of the commercial is approved, it is ready to move to the production phase, which involves three stages:
1. Preproduction—all the work and activities that occur before the actual shooting/ recording of the commercial.
2. Production—the period during which the commercial is filmed or videotaped and recorded.
3. Postproduction—activities and work that occur after the commercial has been filmed and recorded.
The various activities of each phase are shown in Figure 9-4. Before the final production process begins, the client must usually review and approve the creative strategy and the various tactics that will be used in creating the advertising message.
Figure 9-4 The three phases of production for commercials
Figure 9-4 The three phases of production for commercials
While the creative specialists have much responsibility for determining the advertising appeal and execution style to be used in a campaign, the client must evaluate and approve the creative approach before any ads are produced. A number of people on the client side may be involved in evaluating the creative work of the agency, including the advertising or communications manager, product or brand managers, marketing director or vice president, representatives from the legal department, and sometimes even the president or chief executive officer (CEO) of the company or the board of directors.
The amount of input each of these individuals has in the creative evaluation and approval process varies depending on the company's policies, the importance of the product to the company, the role of advertising in the marketing program, and the advertising approach being recommended. For example, the Chiat/Day agency had to convince Apple's board of directors to air the famous "1984" commercial used to introduce the Macintosh personal computer. Apple's board thought the commercial, which was based on the concept of Big Brother from George Orwell's classic novel 1984, was too controversial and might be detrimental to its image, particularly in the business market. The spot used stark images of Orwell's dystopia, and a dramatic scene of a young woman throwing a mallet through a movie screen to destroy a controlling force, purportedly symbolizing its major competitor IBM (Exhibit 9-26). The agency convinced Apple's board to run the commercial during the 1984 Super Bowl, which is the only time it ever appeared as a commercial on TV, and the impact was tremendous. The spot was the focus of attention in the media and was the talk of the marketing and advertising industries. A few years ago, TV Guide named the "1984" spot the greatest television commercial of all time.
Earlier in this chapter, we noted that Procter & Gamble has been moving away from testimonials and slice-of-life advertising executions to somewhat riskier and more lively forms of advertising. But the company remains conservative and has been slow to adopt the avant-garde ads used by many of its competitors. Agencies that do the advertising for various P&G brands recognize that quirky executions that challenge the company's subdued corporate culture are not likely to be approved.37 As discussed in the previous chapter, Wrigley was always very conservative in its advertising for its various brands of gum. However, since Bill Wrigley, Jr. took over the company in 1999 following the death of his more traditional father, the company has allowed its ad agency to take more creative risks and use more edgy advertising.3
In many cases, top management is involved in selecting an ad agency and must approve the theme and creative strategy for the campaign. Evaluation and approval of the individual ads proposed by the agency often rest with the advertising and product managers who are primarily responsible for the brand. The account executive and a member of the creative team present the creative concept to the client's advertising and product and/or marketing managers for their approval before beginning production. A careful evaluation should be made before the ad actually enters production, since this stage requires considerable time and money as suppliers are hired to perform the various functions required to produce the actual ad.
The client's evaluation of the print layout or commercial storyboard can be difficult, since the advertising or brand manager is generally not a creative expert and must
Client Evaluation and Approval of Creative Work
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