Panera's Jaunty Sonic Logo Offers Seconds of Foodie Joy

Made Music Studios strikes up the brand

What does the anticipation and satisfaction derived from a great meal sound like? A 1.5 second burst of horns with a choral flourish, perhaps?

Such sounds, designed to distill foodie joy in audio terms, punctuate Panera's latest ads following a sonic refresh from Made Music Studios.

This :15 from agency Mother uses that tag as the kicker:

New Charged Lemonades From Panera

Does it capture the feeling you get when diving into a bowl of Panera's Broccoli Cheddar Mac & Cheese? Actually, only Michael Bolton's powerful pipes can convey the ooey-gooey rapture of that particular culinary experience. But we digress.

The sonic logo accompanies a major marketing reboot led by Panera vice president of brand building Drayton Martin.

"We were seeking to evoke the visceral and joyful experience of eating a delicious meal," Martin says. "This included a refresh of our visual branding. We leaned into a refreshed color palette and several design cues including an expressive 'burst' element. The sonic branding is the audio companion to our visual expression, and particularly important given the powerful memory cues evoked by sound."

Below, Martin and Made Music EVP, global brand partnerships John Taite, expand on those efforts:

Muse: What kind of vibe were you going for?

Drayton Martin, Panera: The sonic logo builds tempting anticipation at the outset with a vibrant horns series and then affirms the true joy of a satisfying meal with the choral conclusion. A key part of our brand refresh was to celebrate our core focus on "making the familiar fantastic." Our new sonic identity needed to capture the lasting joy of a delicious meal you feel great about eating.

Using brand sounds derived from product elements and packaging is a trend. We saw it in Made Music's work for Tostitos. Why go in a different direction with Panera?

John Taite, Made Music: We could've gone that route. Though when we're creating a sonic identity, we like to think about the emotional experience first and foremost. Think of the physical experience of enjoying chips and salsa—you think of the jars, the crunch, the bag. It's part of your emotional connection to that brand. With Panera, we wanted to create the feel of going to one of their bakery-cafes. You're not thinking about the dings of ovens or grills. That emotional experience is about craving and anticipation and good food.

How'd you create the tag?

Taite: The sonic logo is about 1.5 seconds long, and is made up of two distinct parts: horns and a choral "oooh." We used trumpet, alto sax and baritone sax to create the setup that leads into that payoff note. It's about anticipating a meal, then taking a delightful first bite, and it pairs very well with the "burst" of the vibrant new visual identity.

Why are sonic logos so hyped today?

Taite: As consumers increasingly move to audio-first platforms, it's more important than ever for marketers to capture their attention wherever they are. Audio assets are key to differentiation, increasing brand appeal, and standing out in crowded markets.

Apart from your own stuff, which sonic tags do you love? Any you really dislike?

Taite: The best sonic logos are the ones that capture a brand's essence. They can't belong to anyone else and they stand the test of time because they connect with customers on an emotional level. Think of Intel or HBO—those stick with you. The worst sonic logos are ones that sound like someone else. There are currently about eight brands in market all using a variation of a doorbell. You can't cut through the clutter when you are the clutter.

David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is managing editor at Clio Awards.

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