Hold music as marketing tools?


(image by wordenaar)

“Would you mind if I put you on hold for a minute?”

Ah the dreaded words when you have speakers that only work on 11 (Spinal Tap fans rejoice!).

The natural answer to that would be “No”.

But there is always the urge to add “only if it’s literally a minute AND [notice the emphasis] it’s not Ride of the Valkyrie, 4 Seasons or cheesy pop tunes from the 80’s”.

A couple of days ago an acquaintance told me about how her friend’s company uses Rick Astley as their hold music.


(yep, Rick Astley)

My immediate reaction was that they deserved to go bust.

Not because they were cheap enough to use that tune – which probably cost them all of 15cents a month – but more so that they were putting an annoying, sticky pop song from 1987 which is definitely going to stick in the listener’s head longer than Milla Jovovich’s MOOL TEE PAS).

Which got me thinking.

Why don’t more companies invest in hold music? It’s the perfect arena because it’s their space and one of the rare times when the customer is actually listening to you whole heartedly. Or almost.

If it’s obscure or interesting or good enough, that’s going to be another weapon in the marketing cache.

Music is undoubtedly one of the more powerful of the 5 (or 6, if you count subliminal) senses to cater to.

In Odeon cinemas in the UK until several years ago, a piece of music that played before the ads started had an obvious effect on cinema-goers. They were actually overheard humming the  20th Century Fox Searchlight sequence theme and the aforementioned Odeon theme on more occasions that the movie theme! And it was so distinctive that eventually, out of nowhere, it would pop into my head. Typical of a fanboi, I immediately looked it up on the internet and there were close to a million pages just on this theme song, mostly from people wanting to know what it was, whom it was by and where they can buy it! Now if that does not increase brand recall, I don’t know what.

And here it is:

I’d like to hear what ad jingle/theme/hold music that you remember most and why. Comments please.

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