By Colleen Fahey and Valentin Fleur
Sonic branding enters our ears in diverse ways, from quick pings to three-second audio logos, from TV and radio commercials to long compositions for videos. Here are a few that perked our ears up this month. Though we suspect some are one-offs and don’t tie into entire sonic brand ecosystems, they still reflect principles of thoughtful sonic design.
- United Airlines safety video: Wisely, United used its “Rhapsody in Blue” sonic identity as the core of the composition, but the airline plays with it liberally, moving from style to style as the footage moves around the world. We suspect George Gershwin would have chuckled at the interpretation by the bagpipes.
- The ecobee “welcome home” sound carries a defined texture that feels organic, and the congenial micro-melody has the same number or notes as the phrase has syllables.
- State Farm’s clean and fresh update of its old brand jingle stands out. Clever choice to start TV spots with the tune to “Like a good neighbor…” because the audience is sure to mentally fill in the second half themselves.
- The Slack app alert sound doesn’t use dings or beeps, instead, according to The Atlantic of Oct. 12, 2021, “New messages announced themselves with a swoosh-tap-tap-tap that was inspired by jazz percussion.”
- Bunnings Warehouse in Australia. We came upon this one thanks to Veritonic’s recent audio logo index for Australian brands. It has plenty of aspects to love, given that the sonic logo is part of a lively composition that runs under the ad copy. The sonic brand has the advantage of longevity, having run for over a decade.
- Pretty much the whole Apple universe of sounds is well thought out and communicative, from the satisfying start-up sound to the scroll’s soft click-click -click. This inspired video says it all!
Surprisingly, Tesla’s automotive soundscape didn’t make this list. After experiencing a Lyft ride in a Tesla, we asked some proud new owners how they felt about the sound design in arguably the best-designed automobile in the world. They said it left them cold. It was the only part of the Tesla performance that didn’t get five-star ratings. They even approved of the long waits at recharging stations (as it developed a feeling of community).