Music and advertisement have become a powerful mix for companies to reach consumers attitude and mood. Since it appears that music can be able to evoke vivid and emotionally powerful memories. And create favorable associations with the advertised product. Through associative learning (classical conditioning) introduced by Pavlov a physiologist, that involved repeatedly pairing two stimuli and produce a newly learned response. Providing researchers a powerful method for studying basic learning, memory and emotion process in human and animals. As mentioned music and advertisement have become a major element in modern companies to reach customers attitude and emotion.
As academic researchers claim that music has indeed significant effect on customer’s choice and preference.
Due to the effect and result that music has on people’s behavior and attitude. Several studies have examined the effects and power of music in advertisements; however, there has been a considerable lack of research into how associative learning involving music with brand recognition works. In summary, this article focuses on music’s role in advertising with brand recognition.
The goal is to identify if music has effect or power when it comes to associate a brand with music. Previous Research Classical conditioning approach involving music in ads has become a tool for studying the effects and basic forms of learning and association process, since now on days most product advertisements contain some type of music. Gorn (1982) study found that the results of the first experiment using a classical conditioning approach demonstrated that listening to music while being exposed to a product does affect product preferences.
While the second experiment demonstrated that the decision making of an individual when exposed to the commercial information, does get affected. As Yalch (1991) study look into how music is able to evoke a memory and brand association and found that indeed that music and advertisement is able to produce brad association and attitude formation. Muehlig and Sprott (2004) also suggested that this is true. In their study focusing in the examination of nostalgic thoughts-advertising effect, revealed that some participants experienced some direct link moments between nostalgia and the advertised product, while other nostalgic advertisement commercial produced more significant brand attitudes than the non-nostalgic ad. Such a finding reinforces the idea of cognitive association and processing and the power of advertisement. Even though, that this study did not use music as stimuli specifically shows the efficacy of employing types of (nostalgic) advertisement strategies in the learning process.
In addition Kim, Lim and Bhargava (1998) study (two experiments) examined the impact of advertisement effect in attitude formation of a product. As the overall result of the two experiments suggested that advertisement can influence attitude formation, depending on the number of exposure to the advertisement. However, the result of the second experiment shows that the affective approach might not be the only mechanism that influences attitude formation. Even thought that this experiment used classical conditioning approach the researchers did not give any reference of product recognition or association with the advertisement within the experiments. Shim, Stuart, and Eagle (1991) conducted a study of twenty-one experiments that examined the strength of attitude conditioning of different brands of cola drinks.
Which concluded that an attitude could be conditioned depending on the exposure and information that the individual had previously of the product (cola). And highlighted that Contingency awareness is very important for conditioned learning. This experiment gives a good in-depth understanding of associative learning and how people process information and builds up attitude toward something or someone depending on the information received or exposed. However, as the author’s address, the experiment results could have experienced ceiling effect bias, due to the familiarity and attitude that the participants had prior the experiment (cola drinks). Because past studies as mentioned above had used classical conditioning approach to study the effect and attitude of Music in Advertising, referring more to the effect and impact that a stimulus had in the individual, instead of music’s role in advertising with brand recognition or association.
As Gorn (1982) study highlights that cross model conditioning (visual stimulus) can affect consumer’s behavior trough single exposure to the stimulus. However, Gorn (1982) musical stimuli on current time may differ in the affect and impact of music due to the familiarity, genre, and rhythm that advertisements contain now days. Similarly with the Muehlig and Sprott (2004) study, whom; used Rihanna’s “We Found Love” versus the same song by a cover artist, matching the same stimuli on familiarity, genre, and rhythm. Whereas Kim, Lim, and Bhargava (1998) suggested the number of exposure may differ in advertising effectiveness when it comes to examining attitude and association. So by examining each study results and limitations, clearly is know that the base of all the study mentioned above, the main idea was to find or study the impact of music and power that has in a person behavior and attitude rather than examining brand recognition and association.
Moreover, studies suggest that the type of music or commercial is able to influence the choice or attitude on an individual. Since music has the ability to evoke positive or negative attitude depending under certain circumstances. As one study run by Chen et al. (2006) suggests how sometimes an advertisement can have a bad impact in consumers, especially when the advertised product is encouraging a lifestyle or attitude featured in the advertisement. Especially when it comes to alcohol and adolescents. As Chen et al. (2004) claim that many alcohol consumers are more associated among young people, due to the fact that alcohol advertisements focus on sending a fun and desirable message within their advertisements, as most of this advertisement is accompanied with popular or danceable music. As the result of Chen et al. (2004) study suggests that this form of encouraging or reaching in youth viewers or consumers are due to the function of positive affective response evoked by the advertisement content.
Clearly, music and advertisement focus merely on sending and grabbing peoples attention and influencing peoples attitudes. As most product advertisements contain fun music, bright colors or people having fun, laughing or crying that sometimes the viewer or the consumers feel related or motivated with the advertisement and giving a reaction towards that product, that maybe buying the product or going to check it out. That somehow at the end of the advertisement the brain is able to process the information or make an association the product with the song or event, and this may happen even when the individual has interact or not with the advertisement, since the brain is capable to process an information even the person is conscious or unconscious of its surrounding.
And there has been substantial evidence that supports that learning outside of awareness can produce meaningful changes to decision making. Furthermore, Reflecting over Gorn (1982) results shows the essence of the stimulus and the important parameter that was been carried out in the study. Pen was the primary stimulus; in Gorn (1982) experiment. In contrast, consider jeans for example. A two pair of jeans- (blue and black) are more symbolic product in women’s and men. During the purchase of a pair of jeans, the individual goes through subjective and projective processes; as the consumer contemplate and evaluate whether or not that jeans would go along with self-concept, as music plays in the background. Attitude and feeling/emotion while contemplating and receiving music stimulus would drive a reaction and association process.
As Gorn (1982) study and other studies mentioned have somehow focused on music affect and attitude or choice behavior, rather than the brand association or recognition with the stimulus. This lack of information motivated the present research. In addition, there are further modification in Gorns (1982) conditioned stimulus, as it’s believed the role and power of music and advertising have evolved through the years due to the technology and new platforms that influence peoples attitude and brand information, moreover, products would be shown in slides accompanied with a two different songs: pop song vs. a country song, in slides.
As this study would give a better understanding of associative learning in advertising. Thus, this research goes beyond all the mentioned studies and investigates the power of music in advertisements. Does music play a role in attitude formation or product association? If it does, are participants able to associate and recognize the brand with the song? An experiment was run using a classical conditioning approach. Methods Participants One hundred undergraduate students from George Mason University (50 % male, 50 % female), participated in the experiment, ranging in age from 18 to 30, were included in the study. And every participant signed an inform consent before the experiment. Materials Stimuli Two pairs of jeans were chosen as the experimental product.
Even though that the two products were similar: one was blue and the other was black, the black jean was assigned as brand A and the blue jeans was assign as brand B. Music. Pop: ”Sorry” by Justin Bieber Country:” Tequila” by Dan and Shay Both songs are quite different in genre, lyrics, and rhythm. Gorn had chosen one musical tone for like (Grease song) and one musical tone for dislike (Indian song) –moreover, this experiment used a seven-point scale to address (1—“I didn’t like it,” 6—“ I like it”) for the songs used in the experiment. Procedures The one hundred undergraduate students were randomly assigned to one of the conditions. The experiment was conducted in a classroom setting and each group viewed the stimuli on a computer screen/slides. The subjects in each condition heard the music while they watched the slide with the product.
Each slide containing the products was shown for 4 seconds. The experiment consisted of five trials. At the end of the fifth trial, they were given a piece of paper that contained a picture of the brand with the name of the two songs; they were asked to identify the advertised product with the belonging songs. And once they were finished with the assigned matching paper they were giving be a questionnaire that contained a ranking scale of the two songs from like (1) to dislike (6). The two different colors of the jeans were used, as conditioned stimuli, blue jean, and black jean so that associating them with like vs. dislike songs. Trials First trial: a black jean with music. Second trial: a black jean with no music. Fourth trial: a blue jean with music. Fifth trial: a blue jean with no music