Killing your ad with poor music

Some movies have great soundtracks which help to them to sell well, especially the snippets of video and soundtracks used in the trailers.

Great soundtrack can save a “so-so” movie

Some movies on the other hand are very “forgettable” if not for their soundtracks. The classic example is 2001 – A Space Odyssey. The soundtrack, “Also sprach Zarathustra” is highly memorable and those who have watched the movie will, upon listening to this piece music quickly recall scenes of the movie. But aside from the theme song and a few scenes such as the “spinning wheels” space station scenes, I did not remember much of the storyline. But I can always associate Also sprach Zarathustra with the movie. This is the strong influence that a good soundtrack can have on a movie.


(Picture from :

Catchy jingles rule the day

The creative people making videos as TV commercials had discovered the power of a good jingle or key pieces of a soundtrack very early on. Those of us who were around since the 1970s would have been exposed to the theme song of Coca Cola, “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony)”. Through the years Coca Cola’s advertising people have been producing these “jingle hit” songs. More than both the TV and cinema commercials, these Coke songs were the driving force of the message that Coca Cola wanted to convey to its consumers and conveyed they did.

How to spoil a good TV commercial with crappy soundtrack

There is a TV commercial by a health drink company which has been running for over a year or so in Malaysia which tries to promote the company’s chicken essence. The message that this company wants to put forward to the viewers is that this product brings vitality and energy to the users which work to increase their brain power so that the whole world will be at his/her hands. A very good idea with reasonably good video that tells the intended story. But the let down is the sound track.

Towards the middle of the commercial the tempo of the song was changed. I remember that the soundtrack for earlier versions of this commercial (both the English and Mandarin versions) was reasonably catchy and not out of tune. But somehow the commercial’s was altered. Now the soundtrack has deteriorated to the extent that from the middle part of the clip, the song is out of tune. To someone like me who has a good hearing, it is a torture listening to this commercial now. This is compounded by the fact that the same out-of-tune soundtrack is also used in the company’s radio commercials. The singer now sounds as if he is so lethargic after consuming this brand of chicken essence that viewers will get an unintended message: drink it and you will feel tired!  I will usually switch station when I hear this commercial while driving to avoid further irritation to my hearing.

I wonder why the people putting the commercial on air is not listening to their own advertisement! If they do, my guess is they are all tune deaf! I guess the people at the company that hires this particular advertising agency are all tone-deaf too!

This is a classic example of a good commercial being killed by a poor choice or poor quality of a soundtrack. Perhaps advertising agencies may want to consider hiring someone like me, with good hearing to evaluate their TV and radio commercials before these hit the airwaves?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *