It’s the start of a new year, and many of you may have heard the news that Mastercard has released a single. Yes, you read that right, Mastercard, the multinational financial services corporation, has released a song called ‘Merry Go Round’.  What’s more, this track will form part of a 12-track album called ‘Priceless’, to be released in the Spring. Chart-toppers of Spring 2020 beware!

Mastercard – “Merry Go Round”

Whatever you think of this track, what is certain is that this is exciting new territory for the branding world and advertising in general. This project is an expansion of from Mastercard’s sonic brand architecture, which was introduced in February of last year and the brainchild of CMO Raja Rajamannar.

Mastercard CMO, Raja Rajamannar

There is no question that the introduction of a sonic logo is becoming increasingly popular with brands – the brief usually being that they want something to cover all possible touch points. However, the creation of an album from Mastercard goes one step beyond this, and demonstrates a brand willing to push new boundaries. They’ve even recently recruited a musician to their marketing department. In their drive to uniquely engage with their consumers and stand out from their competitors, I also wouldn’t be surprised to see the brand placing songs from their album in future TV commercials.

Music has proven to be an effective tool for advertisers. adam&eveDDB’s Head of Effectiveness, Les Binet, has stated that the correct choice of music can increase the effectiveness of an ad by 20-30%. Yet it still comes second to its more tangible visual counterpart in the creative process.  

adam&eveDDB’s Les Binet (Centre) at our first ‘An Evening With Bob’

Trying to visually stand out from the crowd is still the main focus of advertising. How many brands are using music as the main vehicle driving them forward? In today’s war for consumers’ attention, it’s refreshing to see a brand like Mastercard thinking outside of the box.

The start of the year always brings with it lots of talk about trends for the upcoming year. Is 2020 going to be the year where brands get on board with the sonic strategy revolution? Sonic logos are a start, but as Mastercard are discovering, with a seriously considered and well-thought out sonic strategy, brands will uncover more exciting, diverse, and impactful uses of music, transforming it from a cost into an investment on the balance sheet.

This new interest in sonic strategy has started to gather momentum within the last 2 years. Brands that take music seriously are now talking about the benefits of a sonic strategy, and have come a long way from simply “I want a sonic logo”. It would be great to see this shift in thinking continue to grow throughout 2020.

How many more brands will follow Mastercard’s lead?

James Carnell and Ruth Simmons – soundlounge