Holiday Music: Settin’ the Mood

Let’s face it: music can either make or break an ad…especially during the holiday season. There’s nothing worse than a cheesy concept combined with a Christmas classic song turned into a branded jingle that forces on a daylong migraine.

That company’s irritating version of “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” that’s stuck in your head for the rest of the day ( …or week… or month) and makes you want to take screwdrivers to your ears? You’re probably not gonna buy a whole lot of their product.

Whoops. Not exactly what they were aiming for.

Even worse and trending: Taking a nationally despised YouTube song and attempting to make it less annoying. Caution to all who cringe at even a whisper of Rebecca Black’s “Friday”: Bypass this dismal effort made by Kohl’s.

As a filmmaker, choose your background song wisely. Yes, I bolded “background” for a reason. Music is intended to set a mood for your commercial, not be the star of the show …especially during the holiday season.

Check out how the UK online retailer, John Lewis used a non-traditional but engaging tune in a recent ad. By keeping the music mellow but engaging, the viewer is allowed to become emotionally invested in the story. Bravo, John Lewis.

Another older, but classic ad by Folgers from the 80’s hit a home run back in their day.

Final food for thought: try to stay away from tacky, dry and overused tunes (holiday classics or not). We’ve seen the failed attempts times again and again. Pick songs that allow your viewer to follow your story without becoming the focus of the commercial. Remember, you’re trying to sell the product, not the jingle.

Happy filming!

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