Sonic branding: a conceptualization of the mass media audience
thesisposted on 24.05.2021, 15:26 by Mila Falkenstein
This Major Research Paper (MRP) explores sonic logos, which are short sound bites used in commercial advertising to represent brands to the public. I discuss how these types of sounds are increasingly being used to attract audience attention in the current corporate and mass media landscape. My research is informed by scholarly debates about the role of the audience in contemporary media environments and traces key positions in this debate, including Celia Lury’s (1993) suggestion that contemporary audiences are passive and Philip Napoli’s (2010) suggestion that social media audiences now play a more active role in producing and sharing media content. Henry Jenkins (2004) provides a synthesis of these two views and states that while the audience has the option to be participatory on social media platforms, there is still an increasing trend toward concentrated ownership in the entertainment industry. I conducted interviews with advertising and branding professionals and analyzed the manner in which producers’ conceptualizations of the audience shape sonic branding practices. One key finding of my study is that media producers believe that changes in technology have changed the way that brand and media institutions interact with their audience. Another key finding is that producers view the contemporary media audience as distracted but also ore sophisticated due to their access and use of communication technologies.