Music in advertisements: how effective is it?

After viewing the MetLife advertisement, I decided to research further into the affect music can have on an audience when viewing a piece of video footage. For me, the use of music and sound is something that has a massive impact on me as an audience. The mood of the music can determine how you feel and what you take from the video you are viewing. In “My Daddy Is A Liar” they use music to play with the audiences emotions, using upbeat and happy music to bring a positive vibe but then quickly changing it to slow and low key, dull music that creates the sadness that is wanting to be expressed.

An article I found on BBC Arts homepage named “How do film-makers manipulate our emotions with music?” clarifies the method of using different music to create different moods and explains in depth how sound and music are used. Even though the article talks about film and movies, the same ideas can be applied to television advertisements and campaigns.

The article can be be viewed here.

In the article they talk about how iconic scenes are always more memorable when using a piece of music or sound that really affects the audiences. A key example they use is the infamous shower scene in Pyscho when the murder of the woman protagonist is accompanied by shrieking sounds. The article states that “In films like Hitchcock’s 1960 classic Psycho, straining strings and overblowing brass are mimicking the noise of panic in nature.” This panic is then transferred to audiences as the disconcerting sound/music and emotional imagery combines as one to create fear and panic within anybody that is watching. It is also said that “Alfred Hitchcock initially told composer Bernard Herrmann to leave the iconic shower scene unscored. But Herrmann went ahead and wrote the jarring, jabbing notes, so redolent of screaming animals. Hitchcock, of course, changed his mind.”

The article also talks about how “extreme vibrations” can contribute to create the emotion of fear and anxiety within an audience.The BBC article claims “While we may not be able to hear infrasound, it has been demonstrated to induce anxiety, extreme sorrow, heart palpitations and shivering.”

Even though this article from the BBC is brief and very simple it has given me a lot to think about when creating my pieces of video. It is clear from the article that music and sound is one of the biggest factors to video when trying to create emotion so is something that I need to spend a lot of time on developing and experimenting with.


Helen Stewart. 2013. How do film-makers manipulate our emotions with music?. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 22 February 16].


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