Saturday, September 12, 2009

Looks Aren't Everything

The average person sees thousands of advertisements a day. As a result, visual aesthetics can be quite important when it comes to making your advertisement stand out amongst the competition. Sight is often considered the most dominant and well-developed sense in humans, so why not appeal to it?

I'm a firm believer that looks aren't everything -- even when it comes to advertising. While visual appeal should not be completely discounted, it can be paired with other complementary components to create a harmonious campaign. Some of my favorite advertisements appealed to an entirely different sense -- the sense of hearing. Let's take a look at my personal top 6...


I am prepared to get some criticism for this choice, but Geico has created some truly memorable commercials based primarily on their choice of music.

More recently, Geico has been airing their Money with Eyes commercials featuring "Somebody's Watching Me" by Rockwell. Admittedly, I find these commercials to be pretty ridiculous, but there is something catchy about that song.

Equally as outrageous are the Geico Cavemen commercials. The commercial above premiered back in 2006 and the muzak-esque "Remind Me" by Norwegian band Royksopp became an unlikely hit among television viewers.


2000 was two years before my sweet sixteen and this Volkswagon commercial left me utterly convinced that I had to have a VW Cabriolet waiting in my driveway the moment I turned 16. If "Pink Moon" by Nick Drake doesn't evoke a sense of nostalgia, I don't know what does.


This Motorola RAZR2 commercial is an example of an advertisement that I don't particularly love, but I find it intriguing based on music alone. Shiny Toy Guns' "Le Disko" is a perfect choice to convey the playfulness and sexiness found in the advertisement.


Appropriately enough, Apple iPod commercials have turned some of the more under-the-radar songs, like CSS's "Music is My Hot, Hot Sex" into instant hits.

The Shadow Dancer campaign is a great example of how to pair exciting visuals with a hot soundtrack. "Technologic" by Daft Punk makes the perfect complement.


I get the impression that I was one of the last people to see this commercial, but I vividly remember the first time I did. I was with a group of 20 or so people watching the 2009 All-Star Game when almost everyone (except for me, of course) had a comment or two to make about this Bacardi ad -- "Oh! I love this song." "I don't quite get the ad, but this song is so fun!" "It makes me want a Mojito."

Translation? $$$ -- for both Bacardi and Mike and Kim, whose song "Daylight" is played during this one minute commercial spot.


Where the Wild Things Are has done an exceptional job at pairing visuals, music and message to create a strong and compelling campaign for this upcoming film. Arcade Fire's "Wake Up" does just what the title of the song suggests. This song woke me from my comatose state of television watching and made me both aware and interested in this movie trailer.

As mentioned above, Where the Wild Things Are succeeds in pulling message into the campaign equation. In this instance, Where the Wild Things Are has paired up with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to create a PSA that poses the question: "Did you play today?" Not only is this cause highly relevant to the story line of the film, but those clever advertising folks pull in one more musical hit -- "All is Love" by artist Karen O and the Kids.

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