September 16, 2021 / CPOVs

TikTok Killed the Radio Star

Kelly Fennessy, Assistant Brand Manager

Music has always had a huge impact on the advertising industry. Advertisers have pulled inspiration from radio hits, MTVs videos, and movies for ages. Over the years, industry experts have honed their skills on selecting the best scores to drive their messages, distinguish their brand, and evoke emotion from consumers. Not only that, but advertising has also impacted the music industry, with popular ads leading to top charters. There is no doubt that music and advertising have a close and mutually beneficial relationship, but recently, that relationship has gotten a bit complicated. If the old saying is “video killed the radio star” then our newest media mogul, TikTok, has taken both radio and video to the slaughter house and massacred them in a slasher film fashion. TikTok took what video had heightened from radio and condensed it to fit the population’s growing need for short and digestible content. Just in 2020 alone, on average, individual users in America spent 20 hours monthly on TikTok, grossly surpassing apps like Facebook and Instagram. And brands are catching on to this growing phenomena. 

TikTok is providing a platform for all advertisers to take advantage of the power of music. The whole app revolves around song and user generated sounds. Brands can truly make an impact on audiences, with 68% of users saying they recognize a brand and remember companies when they use a popular TikTok sound or song. It is such a simple step that can drive sales forward. Even AdWeek has acknowledged that brands can no longer be static and safe with their social media content anymore. Social media has become its own creative platform in and of itself, and the smartest companies are leading the charge and leaving the rest of advertisers in the dust. 

Just this past summer, we have seen brands take advantage of this amplified obsession for musical ads within TikTok and outside of the platform. For example, Ocean Spray’s sales skyrocketed and the brand earned 15 billion media impressions in a month when a user took a simple video drinking their cranberry juice and skateboarding to Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.” Ocean Spray took advantage of this viral video by sending the user a truck full of cranberry juice. Such a simple clip causing an uptick in sales and brand recognition has led other companies like Walmart and Dunkin Donuts to encourage employees to take organic videos at work. You never know what may go viral.

Similarly, Wright Bacon hopped on the TikTok band wagon recently with their Bacon Beats campaign. They partnered with four popular TikTok music creators that turned their 19 minute vinyl of frying bacon into upbeat tunes that garnered an upwards of 975k impressions combined. Their experimental advertising also relied on user generated content, something that continues to entice audiences, especially on TikTok.

Outside of TikTok, other campaigns have highlighted how important audience creation and music is becoming. Reese’s recent OOH stunt of turning their boxes into music studios with an AR illustrates how the brand is recognizing audiences’ newfound infatuation with music in tandem with their growing desire to create. If content is king, user generated content and music are becoming its right hand in command queen. 

To further exemplify the growing importance of music in the industry, eMarketer has projected that the amount of paid music platform subscriptions will increase by 11% this year. Spotify even put out their new campaign, Song for Every CMO, that honors individual CMOs with their own music selection, while also showcasing how important audio is becoming in the advertising industry. Spotify wants companies to see how music can shape storytelling in new ways today, and notes how audio is no longer the same as radio. It is a new kind of beast. 

Even in our own Boston office, we have music pumping through the halls 24/7. It helps us stay productive, creative, and well, awake on a Monday morning. Every employee gets a chance to showcase their music taste when they are selected for a day to take control of the speakers with their own playlist. You could say we are already ahead of the game with this user generated content music trend. Who knows, maybe it’s subtly psychologically impacting our advertising? I hope it is. And I hope that other companies get ahead of the curve and utilize the power of music in their advertising. I can’t wait to see what crazy experiments the industry comes up with.