THE SONIC BOOM by Joel Beckerman


How Sound Transforms the Way We Think, Feel, and Buy
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Man Made Music founder Beckerman, with the assistance of Gray (The Hit Charade: Lou Pearlman, Boy Bands, and the Biggest Ponzi Scheme in U.S. History, 2008), explains the use of sonic branding in advertising.

The author makes a strong case that we are unaware of the degree to which “the hidden world of sound” influences our moods and the choices we make. Although we are more aware of the information we obtain through sight, Beckerman bolsters his conclusion that it is sound rather than sight that is our most important sense, citing how The Star Spangled Banner and Beethoven's Fifth Symphony evoke powerful emotions by the use of a few repeated notes. We instantly recognize these musical phrases, or “sound logos,” which “efficiently let listeners recall and understand rich stories.” The author describes this as the use of sound to create “boom moments” that “spark memories…and, most important, elicit feelings.” For example, when creating their Bullitt Mustang, Ford Motors attempted to mimic the sound of fictional detective Frank Bullitt's 440 Magnum V-8-powered Dodge Charger. To support his case, Beckerman reviews the trajectory of his own career, beginning in the 1990s when he produced demos for songwriters by day and worked as night manager for a company creating spot advertising for radio. For example, he relates how Man Made Music created the sonic logo for AT&T. Fifteen writers worked more than 500 hours to create a theme, which was summarily turned down by the AT&T executives because it sounded “too happy.” Several weeks later, they came up with a new concept that evoked the idea of innovation by creating an anthem involving different combinations of four notes. These were the basis of the ring tones now “loaded on hundreds of thousands of phones” and featured in AT&T ads.

Interesting insight on the use of sound bites to merchandise products.

Pub Date: Oct. 21st, 2014
ISBN: 978-0544191747
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2014


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