10 Iconic Sounds in Advertising

From original and licensed music to jingles, these tracks stood the test of time

Certain songs or jingles have become so closely entwined with certain ads that we immediately associate them with a brand. These sounds have become the gold standard by transcending advertising to become iconic moments in culture. In no particular order, my top picks include:

Jet's 'Are You Gonna Be My Girl?' for Apple's iPod

Year: 2003-2004
Reason: The use of a yet-to-explode indie band paired perfectly with bold visuals and a game-changing product created an ad unlike anything you had seen before.

Apple iPod + iTunes (Jet)

Phil Collins' 'In the Air Tonight' for Cadbury

Year: 2007
Reason: This ad serves as a textbook example of taking an iconic song and creating a collective cultural moment for a brand.

Cadbury | Gorilla

Yael Naim's 'New Soul' for Apple's MacBook Air

Year: 2008
Reason: This song has the perfect lyrics for a brand new product, and the ad catapulted it to become an indie favorite of 2008. Plus, it told creatives that the team at Apple was one of them.

Apple | MacBook Air (Yael Naim)

Elton John's Christmas Ad for John Lewis

Year: 2018
Reason: John Lewis and team are amazing at finding the perfect song that will bring out all the emotions. From Beatles covers to Ellie Goulding to this one featuring Sir Elton John, they nail it every time.

John Lewis | The Boy and the Piano

Nike's 'Leave Nothing'

Year: 2007
Reason: Nike created a cinematic moment with the use of a song from The Last of the Mohicans. What athlete doesn't want to view themselves this way?

Nike | Leave Nothing

Coca-Cola's "Hilltop" Ad ("I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing")

Year: 1971
Reason: No list of iconic moments in sonic branding would be complete without this one. A lot of brands rely on well-known music to associate their brand with, but here, Coca-Cola commissioned its own and created an unforgettable cultural moment.

Coca-Cola | Hilltop

Ocean Spray and TikTok | Fleetwood Mac's 'Dreams'

Year: 2020
Reason: What started as an organic post on Nathan Apodaca's TikTok turned into a massive pop-culture moment. This one exemplifies the power of music and a brand moving quickly.

It Starts on TikTok | Good Vibes

McDonald's' 'I'm Lovin' It'

Year: 2003
Reason: I'm lovin' it. First, as a Justin Timberlake/Pharrell Williams song, then as a campaign that included Pusha T, it's now recognizable by melody only and is running almost 20 years later.

Liberty Mutual's Jingle

Year: 2018
Reason: This one stands out because the brand turned its name into a jingle. On paper, it sounds crazy, but it's executed so well that it just works.

Nationwide's 'The Jingle is Almost There' Commercial

Year: 2017
Reason: Nationwide turned one of its most long-term brand assets into an icon when it created a series of ads about its jingle starring Peyton Manning and Brad Paisley.

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