21 December 2021

The musical trends sweeping the holidays

Expert comment
Music plays an integral part in creating atmosphere and influencing emotion. We see this in film, where the score and soundtrack are chosen or created to hold our focus and guide our mood.

They provide subliminal clues that let us know what we’re meant to feel and when we’re meant to feel it. And that same principle is often applied to customer experiences.

Whether it’s being used to create a soothing atmosphere in a dentist’s waiting room, or fast-fashion brands using the freshest chart hits in stores to demonstrate they’ve got their finger on the pulse, you’ll find businesses using brands to subconsciously influence emotion.

And at this time of year in particular, music is a cornerstone of many brands’ campaigns – here in the UK, the reveal of department store John Lewis’s Christmas campaign is eagerly awaited, with particular speculation about which well-known song will soundtrack it (after being given a downtempo makeover).

Since the debut of the first in 2007, we’ve seen many brands try to mimic their success with similar tear-jerker campaigns (which Amazon have successfully done this year, using a track from Adele’s new album).

Typically, brands not going down this route will instead try to set a party atmosphere with effervescent tracks that inspire dancing and merriment; we particularly like what supermarket chain Tesco have done with their Christmas ad, using Queen’s singalong anthem ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ to reiterate how nothing will get in the way of this year’s festivities.

Recently, however, we’ve spotted a new trend: a return to tradition. We find comfort in the familiar, and – after the events of the last couple of years – it’s perhaps not surprising that many brands are incorporating traditional carols, hymns and brass bands into their campaigns.

One brand that consistently uses music effectively is Coca-Cola, and their campaign features a classical arrangement of a song familiar to many: ‘Chim Chim Cheree’ from Disney’s Mary Poppins.

Here at PHMG, we help brands get their callers into the Christmas spirit with a choice of Christmas-themed songs that they can deploy in place of their usual audio branding over the holiday period.

We create a new one each year, often inspired by a familiar holiday hit; this year, we’ve composed Samba’s Coming to Town, which evokes the sound of ‘Feliz Navidad’.

If your brand wants to use a familiar track in its marketing but can’t justify the cost of licensing it (which can be prohibitive), our talented composers can replicate the aspects of it you like without falling foul of intellectual property laws; instead, it’ll be unique to your brand, and you’ll be able to roll it out across all of your marketing channels – including TV and online, if you advertise there.

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