Incite by Design

Caustic visions and shared thoughts on design, marketing, creativity, philanthropy, pop culture and business philosophy by Toronto design firm, Ricksticks Inc.


No Longer Simple Jingles, Ad Tunes are HOT

Sound design, or the use of music to elicit an association with a product, place, or organization, is BIG and is creating a new avenue for the waning recording industry. [Seems like new bands wanting to be scooped will start soliciting corporations and skip the record labels all together.]

Sound design is so effective, in fact, that products can become indistinguishable from the associated music - creating a buzz or sense of community among its followers. And those of us solely focused on visual identity had better start paying attention.

Ad tunes creating more interest than products

''I see that record companies are no longer able to promote their music like they used to,'' said Sue Cirillo, executive producer of To The Beat Productions. ''Advertisers are seeing more of a chance to capitalize on artists and co-promote artists. I think the recording industry is in big trouble, and the advertising people have seen a chance to capitalize on that.''

It's a different kind of perfect pitch - where product and promotion become indistinct. The blending often is not accidental. Sagging record sales have made it harder for the recording industry to break in new artists. That has driven producers to find new promotional markets in television commercials.

For those of you new to the concept of sound design and the impact of audible identity, read this primer:

Why Is That Thing Beeping? A Sound Design Primer
by Max Lord

Historically, sound has been used in everything from animal communication to computer-human interfaces to warn us that something bad is about to happen: a loud sound warns you that you're about to be squashed by a garbage truck, for example. This may seem obvious, but it's central to the discussion of audio feedback in any interface. Though they're not life-threatening warnings, the sounds a product makes are there to contribute to its usability, enjoyment, and brand identity - in some cases in more compelling ways than its form or functionality.