More people watch TV ads with their ears than eyes.

Growing up I loved me some TV.  Fantasy IslandLove Boat90210.  Who had time for a social life when you could hang out with MacGyver and a six-pack of Jolt? As the prophet Homer Simpson once asked, "How can one little insulated wire bring so much happiness?"  In fact, I loved TV so much, I dedicated my life to it.  Well, at least the part of TV that happens in between shows...the commercials.  

But like all great love affairs, with time, relationships change.  The way people consume TV shows today has fundamentally changed from my days riding shotgun with Knight Rider.  And so has the way people watch TV commercials.  A recent eye-tracking study revealed that 60% of participants look away during commercial breaks.  This shouldn't surprise anyone in today's second-screen world.  After all, there's a Facebook feed hungry to be fed and tweets to Twitter (yes, I just made Twitter a verb).  If the way people consume TV ads has changed, then so shouldn't the way agencies create them?

TV marketers need to take a serious look at the sound of their brand.

While more than half of viewers are turning their eyeballs towards their mobile goodness during commercial breaks, TV still controls the audio experience of any family room.  So when was the last time you watched your TV campaign with your eyes closed?  Is your value proposition still clear, even though there are no pictures?  Was the name of your product or service even spoken?  Does the voice, music and sound design represent your brand in a way that's ownable to you?

The buzz around sonic branding.

Sonic branding is a hot topic these days.  And for good reason.  There are more and more ways for a brand to engage with consumers through audio.  Podcasts.  Music streaming.  In-store.  In-app.  Hold messaging.  Smart speakers.  And more are on their way.  Forward-thinking brands are staying ahead of this trend by creating brand standards specifically for audio.  For example, Pandora recently unveiled their "sonic logo."

TV should champion your audio brand.

But the fact still remains − with all the different ways audio is being used in branding, TV still reigns as a supreme force in reaching your customers’ ears.  And given more people are listening to TV commercials than watching, it's more critical than ever to ensure you're getting the most value from the ads you broadcast.

Putting audio into action.

So the next time you're about to launch a new TV campaign, don't just put a critical eye on the final cut.  More importantly, apply a critical ear.  Be sure you're testing and refining all aspects of your television audio, from music to mnemonics to voiceovers.  All these elements are critical to driving measurable performance gains. And then be sure to push all these audio elements beyond TV into the DNA of your brand's audio ecosystem.


Originally published by MediaPost.