Do Your Clients’ Ads Make Their Products Sound Small?

Thu Apr 20, 2017

Kathy Crosett

Are your clients considering all the senses when they design ads that will make a big musicimpact on consumers? All too often, marketers overlook the impact of sound. If your clients are selecting voice talent or specific music because of their personal preferences, they could be making a big mistake.

New research from Kelly Haws, associate professor of marketing at the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University, and Michael Lowe, assistant professor of marketing at the Scheller College of Business at Georgia Institute of Technology is all about how ad sounds impact potential purchasers. Specifically, these professors studied how acoustic pitch in ads influences what the other senses are telling consumers.

If a consumer sees an ad that promotes food, perhaps a sandwich, without any accompanying sounds, she’ll make assumptions. For example, she’ll decide the sandwich is medium-sized. When that same ad is played with either music or a voice-over in low pitches, the same consumer will believe the sandwich is much larger.

A similar association was identified when researchers played radio ads for consumers. Test subjects who listened to ads that played voices and music at higher pitches believed the promoted products to be smaller than subjects who heard ads tout the same products in lower pitched voices and music.

The researchers link their findings to sound symbolism which comprises part of our broad cultural experience. If your clients want consumers to associate their products with the biggest and the best, be sure they’re using low-pitched voices and music in their ads.

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About Kathy Crosett

Kathy is the Research Director for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel.

View all posts by Kathy Crosett