I never knew the marketing power of my two-year-old daughter, Eve.
It’s power more stumbled upon than deliberate (at least initially) but, still, it’s marketing power that commands an instant audience and response. She unleashes this power at about 4 a.m., and before I know it, I’m on my feet headed to her room.
Her tactic? The shrill-but-somehow-still-sweet cry, Daaaddy. Nothing more.
Yes. Eve calls; I come. She calls again, and I come. Once more, why not? (You may have a practitioner of this same dark [toddler] art in your own home.)
I wouldn’t have necessarily called this unleashing a legitimate marketing tactic until the other day when, while snoozing on the couch, I was awakened by two high-pitched notes (think far right on the piano) from the TV. Immediately after came the rapid-fire chatter of one of the region’s most recognizable voices in Honda car sales. He was pitching a special sale. Pretty benign, right?
Except for the fact that for the life of me I can’t get these two high-pitched notes out of my head. Moreover, when I hear that same commercial again – more precisely, when I hear those notes again – I instantly think Honda. As for the region’s most recognizable voice in Honda car sales, I never have to hear a single word again – the piano notes deliver my marching orders: There’s a sale at the dealership; get there.
That’s the power of what advertisers and marketers call auditory advertising, or methods of advertising that connect with the audience’s hearing. The science of auditory advertising – including music but especially sound effects – is based on behavioral conditioning. That is, sounds can influence behavior by eliciting certain responses.
In my example, the brand-specific high-pitched tones queue the consumer – wherever they are – to listen up. It prepares him/her for an important message about a product or service. Eventually, the sound effect and the message become virtually one in the same. To hear the one is to hear the other.
All of which brings me back to Eve. She’s certainly not calling my name for fun. She knows – rather, has learned – that by calling my name a certain way (sound effect) that she will elicit a specific response (behavior). And the beauty is – like Honda – she no longer has to convey her message again and again at great length because, well, apparently Daaaddy says it all.
David Frederiksen, Creative Director