There’s no denying music’s role in effective advertising. And it’s not a complicated concept: Music evokes emotions. Emotions drive decisions. And when you only have seconds to capture someone’s attention, it needs to be pitch-perfect.
As a music licensing platform that connects emerging indie artists and leading composers with agencies and brands, Musicbed knows the value of the right music paired with the right message. These standout spots from Musicbed clients demonstrate six best practices for how the right music can take your storytelling to the next level.
1. Drive emotion with a blockbuster-worthy score. With breathtaking visual effects and a captivating cinematic score (”Bayt Lahm” by Ryan Taubert), “From Now On,” the two-minute spot for the Lamborghini Revuelto, makes you wonder if you’re actually watching a trailer for an upcoming superhero blockbuster.
“This track perfectly conveys the emotions and the pace that the director and the editor [in accordance with client’s and agency’s expectations] had in mind for this video,” said Alessandro Borgni, creative director at BeyondTheLine.
As we see shot after shot of this automotive work of art, the music continues to build, finally matching the pitch of the engine at the 2:04 mark. Instant goosebumps.
2. Transport the audience with diegetic music. A tavern may seem like an unlikely backdrop to spotlight NBA superstar Paolo Banchero’s endorsement deal with Nike Jordan Brand. But Blue Ox Films’ nostalgic approach with “Welcome, Paolo” wouldn’t work anywhere else, and the diegetic music does everything but hand you a plastic menu.
“We sought music that immediately put you inside the tavern, so we mixed the music like it was coming from a jukebox inside,” director Matt Wilcox explained. “We wanted the tracks to feel soulful and connected to not only the legacy of the Jordan Brand but the legacy of Jordan Brand legend Howard White.”
Many sports ads tend to lean more high-energy—and this one certainly scratches that itch with vintage Michael Jordan footage—but more importantly, it serves up a history lesson. As Genie Brooks’ “Juanita” and “Big City Blues” by Peggy Scott and Jo Jo Benson groove in the background, the music puts you right there, giving you a front-row seat to history in the making.
3. Emphasize story beats with a score that mirrors the subject. Another example of excellent, unexpected storytelling: “Google Pier 57—Anthem.” Google’s branded content series covering the reopening of historic Pier 57. The space is chock-full of unique textures and palettes, and the spot uses the music selection to further showcase that.
“We wanted to capture the wonder, texture, and rich heritage of Pier 57 in a way that felt uniquely ‘New York’ and ‘Google.’ The intro section is my favorite—the swirling, arrhythmic jazz sets the scene so well,” said director and editor Ian Watt.
It’s a gorgeous example of how music helps craft the narrative.
4. Amplify the energy with an emotive arrangement. Produced by Steam Films and directed by Goh Iromoto, Chevrolet’s thrilling ad “Go Beyond” landed top Super Bowl spots in both the U.S. and Canada, and for good reason. It’s a fast, energetic edit, and it’s hard to imagine it with any other track than composer Ryan Taubert’s “Lux.”
“We all knew that an epic sense of scale and gravitas was needed for this story,” Iromoto said. “Ryan’s work bleeds those qualities, and when I saw the first cut, we all knew it had the power to elevate the feeling we were hoping to express in this spot.”
The high-action ad is all about pushing boundaries, and the emotive track complements it perfectly.
5. Captivate your audience with a sweeping cinematic score. Branded content for an aerial cinematography team requires cinematic, captivating music, and the musical selection for Frame.io's V/Speed series absolutely nails it. With wind instruments to evoke anticipation and intense, driving string arrangements, each song serves a distinct purpose in capturing the emotion of the story.
“‘Aero’ set the stage with its unique woodwinds solo, generating excitement for V/Speed's mission,” said editor Sandra Lucille. “‘Fixation’ contributed to the tension, building up the rising action. ‘Liberate’ intensified the visuals, immersing the audience in dark suspense and amplifying their anticipation. Lastly, ‘Static’ provided a slower-paced yet captivating conclusion to the piece.”
The result: a gorgeous spot that strikes just the right balance between brand messaging and storytelling.
6. Mirror the brand message with a blended music selection. Commissioned by Shimano GRX and written and directed by Michiel Rotgans, “Made In: Milano” shares the story behind the legendary Italian bicycle maker Passoni.
With cinematic scores from Jo Blankenburg, Will Patterson and David A. Molina, the music selection offers just the right blend of modern and classical textures to evoke emotion without overpowering the message.
“I love basic instruments like drums, pianos and strings without throwing too many gimmicks in the mix. It started powerfully, dropped, regained energy, and ended in a climax without being too dramatic,” said director Michiel Rotgans.
“The right music can really take a project to the next level,” said Musicbed SME TK, “and this cinematic approach knocks it out of the park.”