AI generated music has been around for several years, but is yet to be harnessed for the needs of the advertising industry. In the same way that songs for ads can be commissioned to a strict brief, AI could be used to create songs tailored to a recognisable style of a famous artist but at a fraction of the cost.
While songs written solely by AI are currently no match for human-created music, advances are constant and impressive, so this is certainly something to keep an eye on. It also opens up exciting possibilities for bespoke ad experiences, with songs adapted to user genre or mood preferences to increase brand connection.
With tech giants Apple, Google and Facebook creating earcons several years ago, we are seeing many more companies stake out their claim in this territory. These non-verbal audio bites that indicate a brand, event or notification to the user, are subsuming the place of more traditional sonic logos.
Earcons are most effective when combined with other designed elements for instant and powerful brand recognition.
Podcasts offer great potential for brand advertising, but it can be difficult to measure engagement. While downloads and play counts give us some idea, it lacks the concrete measures of clicks or shares which can be useful when justifying ad spend. Spotify and Pandora have been simultaneously developing advertising options that ask for listener interaction, usually responding ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to questions such as ‘Would you like to hear more about X product?’
This has the potential to be developed into a much more conversational experience as users get familiar with this new kind of behaviour.
Adapting audio to smart speakers
22% percent of digital audio listening is now done via smart speakers, and this is only set to rise. During 2020’s Covid-19 lockdowns in particular these devices have earned their place in our homes and embedded themselves into our daily routines.
Voice activated sales via smart speakers are set to rise in 2021: with 60% of smart speaker owners already having purchased something with their device, brands are going to want to make sure they are ready to capitalise on this important market, creating highly coordinated efforts across multiple channels to meet customers at their channel of choice.
Speak your brand
Understanding the innate qualities of the voice that best represents your brand is a fine art. With the rise in audio activated digital commerce, brands will need to make bolder choices in who they choose to represent them.
Savvy brands will invest in the creation of their own voice profile, perhaps for use via an AI chat bot, able to offer customer services, product information or to be used more creatively as an integral element of a brand world.
The span of voices used is set to diverge, as brands seek to differentiate themselves to further deepen engagement with consumers. Real human voices may be blended with synthetic elements, or completely AI generated voice avatars may be used.
These developments allow dynamic scripts to generate numerous versions of audio ads without having to record a corresponding number of individual voiceovers.
A successful example of this is Amazon’s Alexa: Samuel L Jackson’s voice has been sampled, and used to generate audio responses using neural text-to-speech technology mimicking the actor’s iconic voice. This can then be used as a voice assistant for any situation, rather than being restricted to pre-recorded content.
Sometimes we’re just not ready for the sound of the future.
In the tumultuous world of 2020, the ad world has been able to leverage nostalgia as a welcome escape to simpler times, associating their brands with comfort and care-free fun.
Nostalgia brings layers of meaning and deep connection, and the right retro song can appeal to those who remember it from the first time around, while simultaneously scoring Gen Z ironic kudos.
The key to utilising nostalgia in campaigns is to truly understand your audience, what experiences feel universal to them and exactly what you want to tap into with your choice of song.