Anyone who knows me will probably be aware that I am a massive nerd when it comes to music in advertising. In fact, that was precisely what the first piece I wrote for Workshop was all about. Sonic branding, jingles and the relationship between the music and advertising industries completely fascinates me.
Successful sonic branding is all about giving the consumer an effective auditory experience. It enhances the overall image of a brand through memorable sounds that increase consumer engagement. Coca-Cola are a great example of a company who are pretty switched on and successful when it comes to sonic branding. See how Coca-Cola are encouraging us to taste the feeling here.
Craving a coke now? Me too! Despite the core purpose of this video being to explain the origins of their new musical signature, we are introduced to the entire Coke soundscape and it fires our senses in a very powerful way.
So what happens when you try to advertise an event in this way, rather than a consumer product? Enter Matthew Miller, a young composer from Manchester. He was tasked with creating the ‘Sounds like Wimbledon’ radio ad for the BBC and it’s a stunning sonic invention.
Have a listen here.
The challenge here is that Wimbledon already has a robust sonic identity in the form of Keith Mansfield’s 1972 theme tune: Light and Tuneful.
The obvious and easy response to a ‘Sounds like Wimbledon’ brief would be to plonk that theme tune under a Sue Barker voice-over. That would probably sound satisfactorily like Wimbledon. But Matthew Miller serves an absolute ace with his offering.
Matthew’s ad uses only sound to paint a complete sonic picture of the tennis tournament. Mansfield’s tune is of course included, in multiple guises – most ingeniously as an ice cream van. We’re taken from magnificent sunshine to pouring rain. We hear the glory, the heartache, the Pimms and the afternoon tea. You can almost taste the strawberries! The percussive use of the ball against racket sound is nothing short of brilliant. He creates a really interesting cross-rhythm against the Keith Mansfield tune towards the end, driving the piece into more exciting territory to gear us up for the competition.
Needless to say, I’m completely blown away by this ad. The sonic design and the intimacy of the sounds makes the listening experience akin to having Wimbledon pumped directly into your brain. Good advertising makes us eager to buy or consume something and this ad reminds me of why I love Wimbledon and why I love being a Brit.