Sidney Hecker once said, “Music, when used appropriately, is the catalyst of advertising”. A catalyst in terms of marketing is a dramatic event that can move markets. Growing up I know most persons can attest to dropping everything once they heard “I’m working for an hourly wage, I went to high school, didn’t do great. Still, I gotta make more cash More education is what I’m looking at.” Millennials now would refer to that song as a bop. I remember growing up hearing this commercial come on and forgetting everything I was doing to sing the song word for word.
From a marketing perspective, this commercial brought the company great awareness. No matter what age you were, whether you were applying for college or going to high school, somehow it was in the back of your mind that you can “get connected for free with education connection”. The commercial was relatable as it contained an in-depth backstory of a girl’s decision to pursue higher education. She didn’t do great in school, so she ended up working as a waitress for an hourly wage. She figures getting more education is the best way to increase her income (not the greatest motivation but to each his own). She went online and found EducationConnection.com, she took some free tests to figure out what direction she should take in life and what options are best for her lifestyle. Education Connection matched her with the right college (For Free!). In 2007, at the time of this commercial debut, I was in the eighth grade and nowhere near ready for college, however, the thought that I could take online tests for free and get matched with the right college even at that age was awfully tempting. It was incredibly hard to listen to this commercial without getting the song stuck in your head due to the easy to follow storyline and melody.
While the music on its own can be a powerful tool for focusing the attention of viewers, it becomes far more effective when it highlights or corresponds to a story or narrative arc and has an emotional impact on the viewer. The education connection commercial and jingle drove a story that correlated with what average person’s go through, graduating high school, wanting to live a comfortable life and doing a degree that allows you the flexibility to work and study for example. This, in turn, evokes an emotional connection because what the main character in the commercial is going through reminds consumers of a place or time in their current lives or alludes to the possibility of that happening to their lives. The commercial also displays the element of conveyance of era because at the time pop culture was the trend and so the melody, chords, and keys of the song were in accordance with the music of that time. The song was very upbeat and fun which evoked a sense of anticipation for the possibility of furthering your education and the tempo gave a sense of positive affirmations. “Our study shows that the use of different melodies, which are appropriate and in line with the message and the brand but different in terms of tempo and tone, creates different impressions of the person endorsing the advertised product and of the brand itself,” says Patrick Hartmann, co-author of the study published in the African Journal of Business Management and a researcher at the University of the Basque Country.
Research shows musical ad campaigns are 27% more likely to report large business effects compared to non-music campaigns. A successful song in an advertisement has the potential to increase attention and awareness, enhance the chance of the ad or brand being noticed and understood, stimulate positive moods, create positive associations between the brand and the song through classical conditioning, enhance brand messages, influence buyer intention and the likelihood of purchase and increase sales. The musical commercial utilized by education connection at this time was a catalyst in driving their revenue as it has later been discussed that they were simply an alternative recruiting channel utilized by for-profit universities to lure recruit new students as most if not all their college suggestions were for-profit organizations and not the more affordable state system. Education connection’s commercial was a key example of using music appropriately as a catalyst for advertising to generate revenue and awareness.