Advertising Week: Why PepsiCo Needed Sonic Branding

From the distinct crunch of Doritos to the smile-inducing sound of SmileDirectClub, it’s no secret that CPG brands are turning their “sound on” when it comes to marketing. In fact, we’ve seen a 22% rise in brands launching sonic identities for the first time in 2021 alone.

More than a required jingle, CPG brands are now seeking to flex new musical muscles by measuring the impacct of sonic branding. At this year’s hybrid edition of Advertising Week New York, Made Music Studio shared the (virtual) stage with our partners at PepsiCo and audio intelligence platform Veritonic to discuss why sound is the new must-have amongst CPG marketers, and how we developed the new sound of Doritos.

Additionally featured in Advertising Week New York’s 2021 Trends Report, we’ve shared some key takeaways from our panel conversation.

You can also check out our full panel below, featuring James Clarke (Sr. Director of Digital and Social at PepsiCo Foods North America), Scott Simonelli (Founder + CEO of Veritonic), Danielle Venne (EVP, Executive Music Producer + Director of Innovation at Made Music Studio), and moderated by Ruth Gaviria (CMO of The Elevate Prize Foundation).

1. In an audio-first world, brands who invest in sound increase their opportunity to connect with consumers wherever they are.

With an exponential increase in consumers moving to audio-first platforms such as podcasts, apps, and voice assistants, sound is a key way to assure your brand isn’t on mute.

Frito-Lay has a history of iconic visual assets such as the Doritos triangle and Cheetos’ orange dust, but the brand knew that they needed a sonic identity to match. James Clarke, Senior Director of Digital and Social at PepsiCo Foods North America, knew the importance of reaching all sound-on touchpoints with Doritos, a brand that has a history of cultural connection and embracing disruptive ideas.

“[Branded sound] creates mental shortcuts for our brand in the audio space that will make it that much easier for consumers to recognize our brands rolling forward. Hopefully these kinds of campaigns set the stage for more innovation and evolution on these auditory assets in the years to come,” says Clarke.

2. Music and sound are the best ways to connect brands with culture.

Sonic branding can be an incredible way to boost brand consistency, loyalty, and value. But first understanding your audience and the larger footprint of your brand is important to building sound that makes an impact.

“The more we looked at it, it was hard to see where popular culture ends, and the Doritos brand begins,” says Danielle Venne, EVP, Executive Music Producer and Director of Innovation at Made Music Studio. “You’ve got to take a wide angle look to get down to the small.”

For the Doritos brand, PepsiCo was looking to push the boundaries of what a sonic identity could do — and sound like. So the Made Music Studio team looked to lean into the brand attribute of “Disruptive” when developing their new sound.

Doritos’ new sonic identity system captures the entire consumer journey from the crinkle of a bag of chips to the crunch of snacking on them. Their new sound is scalable, captures the brand’s unique personality, and is already making a measurable impact with consumers.

3. The ability to measure audio impact is helping brands boost KPIs and create enduring emotional relationships with consumers.

Research shows that there is an 86% correlation between our subconscious emotional response to sound and our conscious desire to return to that experience. The new ability to measure for brand memorability and customer loyalty is a convincing argument for marketers to invest in sound.

Even before it’s officially launched, the Doritos sonic identity system is already delivering impressive results. Audio intelligence platform Veritonic found that 70% of 18-24 year-olds found the identity to be “disruptive” and overall it scored 23% higher in recall than the benchmark for CPG brands in the US.

Scott Simonelli, Founder and CEO of Veritonic says that Doritos’ sonic success when it comes to consumer recall is a credit to the power of sound.

“There’s nothing more powerful at creating long-lasting memories than sound,” says Simonelli. “You still hum the things you heard when you were a child, you still sing the alphabet. These things stay with you forever.”

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