Why You'll Recognize the Tunes in Citi's New Campaign

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Citibank, which earlier this year commissioned a study that looked at music's role in advertising, is using earworms like "Singin' in the Rain," "Double Lovin'" and "Here Comes Your Man" in its new campaign, "Welcome What's Next." The messaging, which highlights products like the Double Cash credit card as well as the Citi brand itself, debuted in Asia earlier this summer and hits U.S. broadcast on Tuesday.

The $69.9 billion bank has a stake in music. Since 2015 it's been the title sponsor of the "Today" show's summer concert series, and it has partnered with Live Nation on exclusive experiences for card members.

The financial services company is using music "as the catalyst to power these spots out in the marketplace globally," says Jennifer Breithaupt, Citi's global consumer chief marketing officer.

The commissioned study found that 31 percent of people surveyed have a physical reaction to a song, such as a smile, tears or laughter, and that 80 percent of people are more likely to remember and pay attention to a commercial featuring a favorite tune. More than half of millennials said they would be more willing to purchase a product promoted in a spot with their favorite song.

"We do relate to music more and more, especially on national ads," says David Fiorenza, instructor of economics at Villanova University. An oldie but a goodie like "Singin' in the Rain," he adds, would appeal to millennials because they likely know it, having been exposed to a great variety of songs on online music sites.

As for the cost of using such music, Fiorenza says licensing for "Here Comes Your Man" could be between $50,000 and $100,000, and could prove doubly fruitful for the Pixies given they're currently on tour. The fee for older classics are more difficult to determine, he says.

Citi's Tuesday spot, which is 30 seconds, features "Double Lovin'" and a series of twins, including kids, adults and dachshunds. The tag is "Welcome What's Next." Another spot will highlight Citi's mobile app, and three will be brand spots. Out-of-home and digital ads support the effort.

"We're using music to tell a story on these spots," says Andy Bird, chief creative officer of Publicis New York, which worked with Citi to create the campaign.

Last year, Citi spent $292,551 million on measured media, an 18.8 percent decline over 2015, according to Ad Age's Datacenter.

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