We cannot simply escape advertising. In fact, an entire industry was developed and accelerated to try and help us do that: ad blockers, DVRs, ad-free premium tv services; however, tv commercials and tv ads will catch up with us.
Sponsored messages, commercials, or ads, whatever you want to call them, often seem to fade into the background noise of daily life as simple indiscernible static only joined by the traditional barking dogs and cars passing by. Be that as it may, every single ad out there and ever developed strives to achieve one single goal: break through the noise and catch your attention.
Beneath the words and moving images of TV ads and YouTube ads, there is an emotional intention that wants to draw your attention and drive those feelings to a place that feels like home. When done right, the result is amazing:
So, why do some ads seem to have the power to gain our attention even when we’re trying to walk away from them? The answer is simple: thanks to the sound elements.
Of course, the vast majority of ads are trying to support a business initiative; however, creating the perfect ad is an art form on its own. Team of producers, sound professionals, and composers work incredibly hard to create the perfect combination of sound elements that elicits the right emotion behind the story they want to convey. And, of course, that’s a tremendous challenge.
Selling through sound
Ad producers often partner up with a diverse team of creators to come up with the best possible result. Sound professionals, writers, storytellers, and composers gather around in the production studio to generate the right mix of musical and sound elements that will propel the commercial towards success.
Irrespective of the nature of an ad, the sound will always be a pivotal element. Some companies and businesses reach out to creators and sound professionals with an idea that includes some sort of visuals, possibly a script or a storyboard, along with some notes on what they want the atmosphere to look like or feel like. If the business is too detailed, this set of elements might as well include the pacing and notes on where the climax is supposed to be.
These requests, of course, although similar in nature, are as varied as the products or services they want to advertise, and it’s the job of the sound professional and the composer to be ready to deliver a huge variety of musical and sound elements at a moment’s notice. Audio post-production studios, for instance, having worked with many other industries such as gaming or film, are ready to deliver when needed thanks to their vast experience and networking capabilities.
With instructions in hand, sound professionals are ready to go to work. From ambient sound to the decibel levels, everything is taken into consideration. The whole sound and musical composition start to take shape based on the brief or the conditions. Subsequently, the initial idea will go through a process of elimination.
For an ad to be successful sound professionals and composers need to use the right sound choices, the right tempo, the right volume, the right harmonies, and instrumentation to reflect the mood outlined by the story. The atmosphere, given how short ads are, is key. Every sound element needs to be carefully chosen and blended into the whole mix to support the overall story.
Once the idea has been laid out and the sound and musical elements are chosen, the ad starts coming to life. Although the latest advances in technology allow us to take the easy route, it is still necessary not to automate or program everything, as the notes and the sounds need to align perfectly with the moving images and the message being conveyed.
There’s a tendency to categorize ads as boring segments of moving images and sound. When we see a famous actor doing ad work we tend to think: “Is that what they’re doing now? Wow”. However, ads are way more creative now and companies are investing heavily in having the right talent and the right team to create them. Just take a look:
When a big brand spends enough to make a commercial their chances of success are much higher. It’s as simple as that. And, of course, the key to propelling your ad towards success relies on how carefully the mix of sounds, dialogue, and music work together to elicit the emotions behind the story.
That being said, when coming up with a TV commercial allow yourself to take creative risks. After all, you’re also working with a team of qualified people that will guide you through the plethora of ideas that you have. You might be convinced that since you’re trying to reach as many people as possible within your defined target audience you need to go for the common denominator, and that’s not perhaps the wisest choice.
Work closely with your creative team and the team of sound professionals and musicians. There’s certainly a way to convey your story and draw the attention you want to your product or service, and that is attained more easily if the sound elements, the talent, the volume, and the music are on point.