The role of music in advertising

Alan Branthwaite and Rosie Ware


In this article we look at two aspects of music in advertising and at their effects on the performance of the ad: the properties or characteristics of the music, such as whether it is well-known or carries a message; and the role and function that the music has in the framework of the ad.


Classical music is used to promote brands as varied as British Airways and Cornetto ice-cream, while pop music underscores advertising for jeans and building societies; jazz advertises Guinness, while rap advertised Carling Black Label. It is not clear whether there is a logic to the use of particular music styles for particular product categories, or in what ways the music is beneficial to the advertising and promotion of brands.