Can Catchy Jingles and Music Capture Consumer Attention during Multitasking?Relevant topics Research, Archive
The battle for the consumer's attention is reaching a climax. Multitasking increased dramatically, especially during commercial breaks, leaving marketers questioning how to capture consumers' attention.
Media multitasking is the most common form of media consumption today. U.S. adults spend more than 10 hours per day in front of a digital device. Furthermore, studies have shown that almost everyone is multitasking while watching TV mostly with a digital device (laptop, tablet, mobile phone), and multitasking behavior especially increased during TV commercials breaks.
Multitasking forces consumers to divide their attention across different types of media content, resulting in lower attention for each stimulus. As a consequence, the simultaneous use of two types of media diminishes the persuasion of such messages and reduces message memory, message comprehension, and message recall and recognition. This leaves marketers wondering how they can attract and maintain consumer attention during TV commercials.
Can Catchy Jingles and Music Capture Consumer Attention during Multitasking?
One of the most used TV commercial assets are jingles and background music. Research showed that music in TV commercials can be used as a vehicle to convey the advertising message since it can get people more involved in advertising. Music helps listeners to better remember the commercial information. Moreover, it is not necessary to pay explicit attention to music in TV commercials, as we process music subconsciously. However, opposing theories showed that a silent segment in a TV commercial break was able to break through the clutter.
Due to the fact that music competes with the spokesperson's voice for attention, removing music increased the recall of the TV commercial message. Evidence of the effectiveness of music in advertising is contradictory, and no previous studies have taken into account the role of media multitasking. Furthermore, prior studies tried to capture the effects of music in TV commercials with conventional research methods such as surveys and questionnaires, yet recent studies have shown that music is processed subconsciously and neuro-research methodologies provide more insights and a deeper understanding of the subconscious effects.
A laboratory experiment was conducted to overcome these withdrawals and the remainder of this article discusses the subconscious effects of jingles and background music in TV commercials on the visual attention and engagement of consumers, during multitasking, measured with an electroencephalogram (EEG) and an eye tracker. The key findings are discussed in the following section.
Music and jingles are processed subconsciously
TV commercials have many forms of sounds. Music, with or without vocals, a voice-over, small background sounds of the activities in the commercials. When consumers are multitasking, the processing of the music and jingles happens unconsciously. Consumers simply have to process too many stimuli in a multitasking environment to consciously process music and jingles.
Excluding jingles and background music increases visual attention
Although consciously consumers do not notice, the visual attention increases by 7% when music and jingles are excluded from the TV commercials. Due to the fact consumers have more resources available to them, it can lead to more attention towards the spokesperson, and increase their visual attention towards the TV commercials. Therefore, when visual attention is needed (e.g., for highly informative TV commercials) to process a TV commercial, excluding jingles and music can therefore increase visual attention and enhance their advertisement effectiveness. Yet, the exclusion of jingles and background music was not only advantageous...
Jingles and background jingles increase consumer engagement
When TV commercials include music and jingles, consumer engagement increases. EEG data shows that consumer engagement scores were significantly higher for TV commercials that contain jingles and background music. Jingles and background music are used to create and enhance the connection with a brand. Recent studies have shown that consumers are capable of remembering music they have heard throughout their life, as well as the emotions it has triggered. Therefore when marketers advertise low involvement products, such as luxury perfumes, expensive chocolate clothing, etc., and want to create and enrich an emotional connection between the consumer and their brand, rather than convey functional benefits, we recommend including music and/or jingles in the TV commercials, as their use increases consumer engagement.
Jingles and background music in TV commercials are processed unconsciously
Exclude jingles and background music to increase visual attention, especially useful for highly informative TV commercials
Include jingles and background music to increase consumer engagement, especially useful for emotional TV commercials
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Recent research by Unravel Research has done exactly this. But first, let’s explain the theory behind the story.
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Let’s look at some of the most interesting insights on how you can put music to work for you as a company.