These days, the most memorable marketing is video marketing.

 

That’s due to a combination of factors — the most prominent being that humans are visual creatures.

Inside our skulls, hundreds of millions of neurons are devoted solely to visual functions — some research says as much as 30% of our entire brain is devoted to vision.

So when someone proclaims “I’m a visual person,” they are simply confirming their status as a normal human being. From this perspective, it’s no wonder video has seized control of digital media. People are inherently attracted to the medium, and if a video message is delivered effectively, we will often find it persuasive.

 

This brings us to the all-important question: what makes a video good?

We’ve already established the importance of the visuals. And the script certainly plays a major role. (If your video is unintelligible only the arthouse crowd will tune in.)

What separates truly memorable videos from also-rans is the music.

Why Music Matters to Video

As much as we enjoy looking at stuff — videos, art, or otherwise — humans may enjoy music even more. 

That’s because the same part of our brain that deals with emotion and memory also really likes music. We are, in fact, hardwired to become emotional when we hear music. The type of emotion we feel is up to the particular song. In essence, the music that plays behind a video tells us how to feel about what we’re watching. 

Even if it’s obvious how you should respond to what’s happening on screen, the right song can make you feel that emotion more deeply, which redoubles the impact of the video. 

We can learn a lot from these two Amazon videos. Both are advertising Amazon Prime, but each one uses music to vastly different effects.

First up, Amazon’s “Lion Mane” spot:

 

Alright, so this is obviously meant to be a tear-jerker. It has everything: a baby, a dog, a dog with a lion’s mane.

But the video packs such an emotional punch largely due to the music. There is no dialogue, so the slow, sweet melody takes center stage and makes it obvious how we should feel here: sympathy for the poor dog and relief when things are finally resolved.

Contrast that emotional rollercoaster with this next Prime commercial:

This spot has a very similar premise as the previous one: an adorable dog needs help, and its owner uses Amazon to resolve it. But because the music is so understated in this second video, we feel much less moved by the piece as a whole.

Sure, there’s a fair bit of sympathy built up in the beginning, and there’s a big swell when we see the final reveal. But the music doesn’t do enough, and we’re not as invested as we could be.

I’m not saying every video needs to be as emotionally charged as the first Amazon example. But the most successful videos tell engaging stories, which requires the right kind of music. That’s true whether you’re advertising Amazon Prime, telling your restaurant’s story, or explaining the history behind a new urban renewal project. Here’s how you go about doing that.