Trends | Shop By Values

Music And Small Businesses; How Can Utilizing Music Help Your Business?

May 29, 2022 | Calum Lockie

In this entry, I shall be looking at how businesses have utilized music through different mediums in advertising and marketing, and how your business can benefit from using music as well.

So, let us start right at the very beginning. What is a small business? HMRC ( classifies a small business as having any of the following two options: A turnover of £10.2 million or less, £5.1 million or less on its balance sheet or 50 employees or less. This has been  defined as there are many case studies behind larger companies using music and jingles in their advertising campaigns. However, these are multi-million-dollar campaigns, and not quite feasible on a smaller scale. It is however important to note that scalable results are achievable, as lots more research has been done on the subject. ‘What are you looking at then?’ I can hear you yelling at me through the screen. I am going to be looking at the history of music in advertising, the psychology behind it and then looking closer at how this understanding can be applied to a business operating on a smaller budget. 

Music and Marketing – a Brief History 

The first jingle was broadcast in Minneapolis, Minnesota in the United States, on Christmas eve 1926. The jingle was for the cereal brand, Wheaties. Radio was still a relatively new medium of consuming music and news at home, and brought many families across the US together, gathering round for their favourite shows etc. Advertisers quickly took note of this happening and worked on a catchy tune, or ‘jingle’ to help sell their products. Wheaties was a cereal for the General Mills Board (later General Mills in 1928), and in 1929, sales were falling. Sales were down by 53,000 cases (of cereal) which was half of what they were in 1927. However, Samuel Chester Gale of the advertising department had noted that 60% of Wheaties’ sales were in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, where the jingle had been being played. He theorised to the board that if they took the jingle experiment, they would see a double in sales numbers wherever the jingle was played. The General Mills board agreed to launch a national campaign and immediately saw sales increase exponentially ( Other companies naturally took notice of the success of this campaign and started using their own for their various products. 

Since then, a variety of brands have collaborated with artists, songwriters and producers alike to bring jingles into advertising and music into commercials etc. for example there was the Apple advert featuring the band jet (Apple - iPod + iTunes (Jet - Are you Gonna Be My Girl) Ad), Sarah McLachlan & The ASPCA (Sarah McLachlan SPCA Commercial) and Cadbury’s & Phil Collins (Cadbury's Gorilla Advert Aug 31st 2007). But why is it that music and jingles, specifically, work better than spoken word poetry, or regular speech and read advertisements?  

The Psychology of Music Within Advertising 

If you were to think of an advertisement right now, there is a high chance that the first thing you think of will be a jingle associated with a brand (for example, ‘kids and parents love it so, the happy world of Haribo’. Or the Mcdonalds whistle). This is 

because the jingle itself has been specifically designed to be catchy enough for you to remember it. ‘But what is a jingle?’ Well, a jingle is a short song, or tune, that is aimed at being a simple hook or melody, so it is easier to remember. Jingles are also designed to reach different parts of your brain that trigger emotional responses. Jingles will play on different feelings and emotions to make you feel a certain way about a product. For example, a company selling life insurance will play very ethereal music that feels light and airy to help a feeling of calm come over you while you think about the idea of paying money to a company to insure your life. Or another example, charities will play very sad and melancholic music over upsetting images of whatever it is their cause is helping, to aid you into feeling more upset than you are about the situation and send money to help fight their cause. If you see these adverts without any music, it has a drastically different outcome on yourself as a consumer. (How Brands Are Psychologically Manipulating You | Music in Advertising)

Jingles and music also help to identify target markets and demographics for their products. The music that you hear on an advertisement for a large sports event will be very different to the music you hear for purchasing household goods, as they are more likely different types of people in different states of mind that are looking out for those specific advertisements. There will be advertisements for children's toys that will feature children singing the hook of the jingle, so that even the children know that the advertisement is for them. Or music for clothing brands for people that listen to a certain genre of music. For example, the company ISAWITFIRST is the fashion sponsor for the television series ‘Love Island’( In their own adverts, the music played is very similar to that of the theme song from the television series, as this creates a feeling of continuity, and a thought that by owning these clothes you too can feel as though you are on the tv show. 

Continuity from music and jingles in advertisements are also very important points. This is because it helps the brand become more memorable, which is of course the objective of any good advertisement. If, for example, at the end of each Mcdonalds advert, there was a different melody, it would be confusing for the consumer. Fortunately, Mcdonalds is a colossal company that could possibly stop advertising for a year, and not see too much of a drop off in sales. However, a part of how the company got to the size it has is due to memorability. Consistent colour schemes, clear effective branding and a very catchy tune to put at the end of your adverts are huge factors in becoming a more memorable brand and company. 

How Can This be Applied to Smaller Businesses With Lower Budgets? 

National radio campaigns and global branding is interesting, but how does it relate to your small business? Well, the primary thing to remember is that no business starts off at the top, and countless hours of hard work, revisions and research go into building bigger brands. However, this is not to say that you aren’t able to implement similar structures and practices yourself. 

The first thing your business will have to think of is, what format will your customer be consuming the advertisement in? This also touches on what your target demographic is, as this will impact where different groups of people put more of their 

focus. For example, 10% of 16–24-year-olds in the UK said that they listened to the radio at least once a week ( So, you must look where 16–24-year-olds are spending more of their time? Statistics show that 16-24-year-olds have the highest intake of social media and online activity with 67% of users saying they were active at least once a week( This would mean that if your product or company is aiming towards a younger demographic, it would be better worth your time looking at advertising and promotion across various social media platforms such as Instagram and Tik Tok. But in doing so, how does music interact with this? Using tracks or jingles that can be used in a multitude of ways and interpreted differently is important as it means people can be creative with soundbites, leading to more people advertising for you. Meme culture is very much at large at the moment, and so tapping into that sector of the internet is an interesting way of subtly promoting your business. This is not to say that your products are to be taken as a joke, but if you can incorporate your business into a separate joke, this can be a new way of reaching more people, while potentially not costing a penny. 

To stay down a more traditional route however and steering away from Tik Tok dances and 15 second Instagram story advertisements. Another possibility is getting involved with artists, venues and the wider music industry in general. I’m not suggesting you pay Sir Paul McCartney 2 million pounds to endorse your company (although it would be very cool if you could do that), but I mean more so at a grass roots level. Getting involved with stalls at local festivals for people to see your products is an interesting way to spread awareness of your brand, whilst also guaranteeing some decent foot traffic depending on the size of the festival. Even if consumers are not entering your tent, the image of seeing your company stays with them for a long time, should they require your goods and services at a later time. This touches back on the emotion and memory mentioned earlier. Festivals are often looked back upon with fond memories, even if the experience was far from it at the time, and if you can associate your brand with some of those memories then you could well be on to a winner. 

To Wrap Things Up 

Music can be massively beneficial to your company in an advertising sense; however, it is not the only way that music can be utilised. Attending events, sponsoring local shows and getting involved with the wider music community is a great way of raising brand awareness, and can be done relatively cheaply. 

Of course, more traditional methods of radio jingles are still effective and should not be ignored, but the more creative the advertisement the more respect the general public will have for it. Creativity is important when building relationships with customers and finding a way to set yourself apart from your competitors, which is crucial. 

Music is such an integral part of day-to-day life in the modern world, and it is not something you should turn your nose up at. Working with grassroots events, artists and industries also benefits your local community, what’s not to love? Below are some youtube videos discussing the topic further;Find TikTok trending sounds for business account fast! EASY SHORTCUT  Guerrilla Marketing: Shockingly Great Marketing On A Small Budget How To Advertise For A Small Business

I Understand

By continuing to use this site you consent to the use of cookies.

Know More.