The other day I had a disturbing incident in Leicester Square

I was being presented to by Global Radio who were making the point that audio affects mood.  The rather startling way in which they made their point was by showing me an image of a baby in the womb (always heartstoppingly lovely) and simultaneously playing a loud alarm.  I’m still upset thinking about it. 

Their point of course – which is well made – is that sound makes a huge difference to the mood you’re in and that this starts from your time in the womb.  (Top tip for pregnant mums out there – play your baby whilst in the womb a piece of music repeatedly that you’re quite fond of – we used “Daydream Believer” – and it’s a perfect soother to your baby when it emerges from the womb and won’t settle.  This does really work).

Music is a mood changer.  I had a flat mate once whose alarm played The Smiths every morning at 5am.  Specifically “Heaven knows I’m miserable now”.  He soon quit his job, and even quit the UK.  I’m only guessing but I think if his alarm had been more along the lines of “I’m on top of the world….” his life might have panned out differently.  We may choose ringtones to cut through the clutter of noise that we are surrounded by.  We may choose them on the basis of favourite bands or our desire to be cool.  But we must think what repeated interruption by the sound is doing to our mood.  Be careful what your ring tone is saying to your brain.

This is all about neuro-science theories and the effect noise has on your bilateral ventral striatum and other brain parts.  I’m sure you’ll be hearing from Global soon about their new study into the power of sound (be ready for the baby alarm). 

Get sound right and you can help sell product.  Pop into Hollister in Westfield and there’s West Coast music, a video wall of a surfing beach in LA and a distinct perfume permeating the store and clothes (or see them online at http://www.hollisterco.com).  It’s a very complete retail concept and affects four of the five senses (their hoodies are gorgeously soft to the touch) and the queues outside seem to prove its power.

The power of sound is perhaps one we neglect to dwell on.  Global’s new work is welcome in this respect and I look forward to the commercial opportunities that it suggests for making traditional radio advertising even more effective in terms of matching moods with adverts.  So an airline selling exciting travel packages might go for the first ad to follow Dizzee Rascal and a product seeking to reassure consumers would try to follow Michael Buble.  If this improved effectiveness it would bring a new dimension to radio planning.

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