Sonic Logos in Advertising: It Pays
You know you have heard it, McDonald's sign off at the end of all commericals, the three note iconic NBC chime (it has been in use since 1929), or Intel's five note "bong". Then, there is the Nike "swoosh" and tons of others. Since 1994, by Intel's reckoning, the "song" has been played more than a billion times worldwide, making it among the most heard tunes in history. If you spend any time at the cinema, you've heard the "Deep Note," the signature sound of the THX sound system that equips better theaters. ESPN's Sports Center theme, a full musical piece, has been distilled into just a handful of notes over the years. It was written by Annie Roboff, an award-winning songwriter behind hits by Faith Hill, Whitney Houston, Bonnie Raitt, The Indigo Girls, Tim McGraw and The Dixie Chicks.
That is sonic branding or logos. Not quite a theme song but sonic logos are very brief melodies or sound effects to cement a brand in the mind of the listener. it works! Some logos take literally 18 months to create and its only four notes! Like the AT&T one that ended costing at least $60,000 - $100,000. Their logo was distilled down from 60 sound bites to seven and finally to one. At one time, eight musicians were churning out brief melodies to be considered by ATT executives. Sometimes, the melody will yield the perfect set of notes to make a company's sound logo out of a much longer melody. You only only need a few notes because the sonic logo is very short in advertising but the listener MUST remember it. When they remember it, the remember the product.
Believe it or not, there are businesses that earn a living by creating sonic logos. It is just not by luck or by accident the few notes are branded to the product. It is hard work creating sonic logo that flashes by within a second or two that you recall.