'A prescription for annoyance': Can The Wall Street Journal get CVS to change its maddening hold music?

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As a public service, Ad Age, as part of its ongoing media-about-media coverage, likes to occcasionally call attention to media that's not about Trump lawyers, Trump payoffs to Playboy Playmates, Trump tweets, etc. And so today we're directing your attention to front-page news from The Wall Street Journal: an A-hed story headlined "CVS Hold Music Divides A Nation" (perhaps that's slightly hyperbolic?) in print and "CVS Hold Music Divides the Nation: 'Enraging' or 'Hypnotizing'?" online.

The story by Jon Kamp and Sumathi Reddy dives down a strangely entertaining rabbit hole. The WSJ includes a scratchy clip of the rather melodramatic piano-driven tune in the online version of the piece, and quotes customers who are both pleased with it and tormented by it. Kamp and Reddy also note that a Change.org petition titled "Change the hold music for CVS," started by a guy named Roger Hogarth, expresses a preference for "Scandinavian thrash metal or nature sounds of whales mating" over the CVS tune.

All of which points to the fact that branding decisions are implicit in even the tiniest customer-facing details, and that people will obsess about absolutely anything they think a marketer is getting wrong.

For its part, CVS plays it straight—"We've kept this song as our on-hold music for so long because of the numerous positive comments we've received from customers over the years," a company spokesman somewhat improbably tells the WSJ—and then Kamp and Reddy keep diving down the rabbit hole to find out who created the song in the first place (a small detail CVS has been misinforming people about for years, it turns out). Keep reading here.

In response to the WSJ investigation, will CVS cave? Or double down? Stay tuned—but meanwhile, some heartening news for Hogarth, whose Change.org petition, the paper notes in its report, "has about 30 supporters."

As of this writing, that number has surged to 33.

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