The Sound Of Beer: Heineken #1 Among Brands For Effective Use Of Music

Image above: This Heineken ad featured a "creative rerecord" of the classic song "You'll Never Walk Alone."


Heineken ranked #1 in 2022 among the 10 top-selling beer brands in the United States for its effective use of music across paid and owned advertising, according to an analysis by B2B music intelligence company and licensing platform Songtradr Group.

In 2013, the World Advertising Research Center published a paper that concluded television ads using music were 20%-30% more effective in leading to sales than those that did not.

For its inaugural Music of Beer report, Songtradr did a deeper dive by analyzing content on such “sound-on” platforms as TV, radio, podcasts, YouTube and TikTok

The firm examined 241 music tracks by uploading them to its AI platform, which profiled them using some 300 variables across 28 categories—identifying elements including mood, music genre, personality and music quality.

Songtradr also extracted audience commentary on social media and YouTube videos and analyzed how positive or negative they were—as well as how engaged consumers typically were with beer brands’ music.

“We essentially mapped each music track as a sort of sonic profile across,” Songtradr research strategy director Aifric Lennon tells CPG Insider.

The result was a total music score that ranked Heineken #1 at 91%—much of it owing to the brand’s consistent use of “creative rerecords,” according to Lennon.

“Creative rerecords are where you take a famous piece of music or well-known track and rerecord it in a different style or with a different artist. It’s quite an interesting, consistent strategy that they’ve employed. It’s not something they do as a one-off.”

Conversely, Guinness ranked #10 with a 34% score, primarily because it used music sparingly in its U.S. creative last year.

“The actual presence of music in a lot of their advertising was quite low. Also, when they were using music they didn’t seem to have much of a consistent strategy.”

Songtradr concluded that thoughtful and consistent music placement accounted for more than 33% of beer brands’ market performance, based on its neural modeling technique.

The technique quantifies the impact of the emotions triggered by sound and music on consumer decision-making and long-term memory encoding.

Songtradr says its conclusions have been scientifically evaluated in peer-reviewed journals and “empirically proven to produce the most accurate consumer behavior predictions.”

After Super Bowl LVII, the company analyzed three solo-branded beer spots in which music played a prominent role using its AI analysis along with quantitative research gleaned from beer drinkers.

The best performer was this commercial for Michelob Ultra—in which a female tennis player does a victory dance to the mild chagrin of her male opponent—because it was the strongest performer in terms of “resulting change in emotional appeal” for the brand.

This spot for Budweiser barely moved the needle for the brand’s “emotion-weighted” preference by mixing a short snippet of the brand’s iconic “Here comes the king” march and a hip-hop track from Metro Boomin.

Busch Light’s emotional appeal among beer-drinking Super Bowl watchers dropped by 2.9% following the game, leading to a 2.1% drop in brand preference attributed to this commercial that included a short clip of Sarah McLaughlin’s 1999 hit “Angel.”

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