Jonno Seidler: Turn it up


Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 3.18.50 pm.jpgBy Jonno Seidler, social copywriter, M&C Saatchi

CB Exclusive – While McDonalds’ deal with Omnicom may be making waves across the ad world today, among the younger set, all eyes are on Kenzo and its sparkling new longform perfume ad, directed by the legendary Spike Jonze. The spot is exhilarating for a number of reasons – including the way in which it gloriously takes the piss out of the category – but a lot of it arguably comes down to the soundtrack.

Jonze’s brother, Sam Spiegel, created the dancehall-inspired ‘Mutant Brain’ especially for the campaign.  It follows on from ‘Da Da Ding’, another custom job for Nike, composed by EDM upstarts Gener8ion and Gizzle. You can find each of these songs on streaming services. Even stripped of their visual context, they’re also good enough that you’d want to add them to your party playlist.

Advertising has a history of bankrolling stars into turning jingles into jams. From Justin Timberlake’s ‘I’m Lovin’ It’, which doubled as a spot for McDonalds, through to the famous Pepsi run of collaborations in the ’90s (and let us not forget the Mad Men revival of ‘I’d Like To Buy The World A Coke’), it’s somewhat in our DNA – even if that typically relates to broadcast.

Australia’s most famous foray into composition in recent years is still ‘Dumb Ways To Die’, a jingle cleverly wrapped in song, but nonetheless not something you’re going to drop at a 21st birthday.

For the most part, our industry’s approach to music, particularly in the age of Facebook, in which we are repeatedly told that millennials scroll past content without sound, is one of gentle ambivalence. We oscillate between licensing big name tracks for large TV campaigns and using skilled production houses to create moods that sound like contemporary music, but deliberately retain none of the actual stickiness.

These recent moves by brands firmly plugged into the pulse of ‘kids these days’ should not go unnoticed. Both the Kenzo and Nike ads are longform, were released first online and rely on having the sound turned up. By our benchmarks, they should not work. But the marketability of their tunes gives them a residual effect that extends far beyond the spot, and a clear association between the brand and cool.

This year, an automated stock music composer called Juke Deck won an innovation lion at Cannes. It uses artificial intelligence to create sounds to spec for any type of creative, musical genre or audience. It seems that as we plunge more and more dollars into video, it’s coming at the expense of music, which we consistently attempt to make cheaper. Kenzo will not be the last brand to prove that our rules around content are there to be broken.

If there’s something worth listening to, the earbuds will go in and brand salience will go up. So who will be writing the beats for your next big campaign?