Writer’s disclaimer: First and foremost, I would like to apologize for the sensationalised headline. Although I loathe it with every beat of my fragile heart, the very forces of clickbaiters has forced my hand. Now back to the matter at hand.

Plato once said, “Music gives soul to the universe, wings to the imagination, and life to everything.” He understood the essence of what a beautiful mix of sounds can produce. And advertising has followed suit by adding sounds to their ads, which is referred to as sonic branding. Sounds tend to attract our attention, regardless of whether or not we adore it. And if you do adore it, you just wouldn’t want to part with it.

There are certain sounds that just resonates a brand without saying the name or looking at the logo… unless you’re a chicken rice shop that has chicken rice and more. Nevertheless, it has a sensation that tends to linger in our minds. Mat Kool was my best friend and Paddlepop was definitely super-duper yummy.

The Germans call these sensations earworms: “little bits of sound that can worm their way into your ears and lodge themselves into your brains.” And we have seen multiple brands, throughout the years, producing melodies and jingles to help resemble their brand. But how many of them has actually become outstanding?

Though Sonic Branding encompasses the whole variety of sound making, we have decided to focus more on sounds, which excludes songs and jingles.

Here is a list of a few brands that has captivated audiences around the world, through the creation of a unique sound, not music, which could resonate the brand without needing the attention of people’s eyes:

1. Intel

“Intel’s ‘bong’ was probably the most played tune in history,” so says the BBC. But it definitely wouldn’t be a surprise. After being founded in 1968, Intel has become one of the world’s largest and highest valued semiconductor chip makers. People would probably not know what its product does, but are more likely than not be familiar of Intel just by hearing the sound that comes with it.

2. MGM

Famously known for producing James Bond films and The Hobbits series, the famous lion roar before a film begins is a sound we have all come to familiarise with. The roar was first heard in August 1928, and has lasted until today – arguably one of the first usage of sonic branding. Watch out for the ever-famous roar when you’re watching the new release of James Bond.

3. Nokia

When a particular ringing tone sounds off, you can’t help but go down memory lane. At a time when Nokia was the popular choice for the layman, this ringtone became a popular sound to all. However, being unable to escape from reaching into your pockets upon hearing the ringtone, some opted for other ringtones. Nevertheless, it is a sound that instinctively tells you, it’s a Nokia.

4. Windows XP

For those who used a computer before Apple’s MAC became the more popular choice, Windows created one of the best operating system that PC fans just adored. But the sound that comes with it just cannot be disregarded. Windows XP was truly a notable product, not just as an operating system, but also for the beautiful sound that rings in your ears whenever you start it up.

5. Nintendo Gameboy

The ever-famous handheld video game device which was most popular in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. The famous cute ‘ding’ that you hear every time you switch it on, is very notable. In an instant, you will be reminded of the games you used to play on the device, which ranges from Super Mario, to Pokémon, to Mega Man. The nostalgic sensation that comes upon hearing the sound would just make you dig through your old stuff, and grab that device which is currently considered an antique.

6. THX

The immense sound you can’t escape from hearing whenever you enter the cinema. Being famously known as a high-fidelity audio/visual reproduction standard for movie theatres, it was presented to the world in 1983 to help ensure that the soundtrack for the Star Wars Return of the Jedi film, would be accurately reproduced in the best venues. There is no better way to portray THX than the blaring sound that comes with the logo, which assures the audience of the sound quality that comes with the film you will be watching in the mere minutes to come.

Joel Beckerman, founder and lead composer of sonic branding agency, Man Made Music, said that, “Great Sonic Branding projects a brand’s image in an instant. It immediately tells an audience who you are and what you stand for.”

Through this list we can see how tech brands are the ones who tend to play with sounds when it comes to Sonic Branding. Although, McD has proven that you were loving it when they released a jingle for their brand. We gathered that differing industries apply Sonic Branding differently. Nevertheless, it is a medium you should seek out, with hearing being a sense you should seek to capture.

What does your brand sound like?

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How would your brand participate in the golden age of the geek?

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