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An Ohio composer changes his tune to match the future of advertising

This is somebody working with sound on a professional mixer
public domain
Increasingly, composers are being asked to write identifiable sounds for their products instead of music for TV commercials.

CEO of Sonic Signatures Jon Brennan says people don't watch TV ads anymore, so increasingly companies are developing a special sound to stand out.

People have no patience for TV ads anymore and that’s why some companies are pivoting to short identifiable sounds. They take just seconds and can be played anywhere, including radio, TV, podcasts and sports stadiums.

Composer Jon Brennan, founder of Sonic Signatures, now with Sixième Son,
and his former business partner Sean Beeson, composed these ever-evolving sounds.

Jon Brennan
Jon Brennan
Jon Brennan is also composing for adaptive audio. This is music that speeds up when artificial intelligence says there are too many people at a museum exhibit and it encourages them to move along.

Brennan has already composed music for video games, as WVXU reported in 2018, TV and radio ads, smartphones and now, voice assistants.

“I was in a log cabin in the winter of 2018 and I was reading these articles about just the growth of Alexa and Google Home and how they were just being adopted, and at the same time just the explosion of podcasts and I realized this is the chance for audio to shine,” he says.

Amazon Alexa has a YouTube channel, and her special sound is at the end of all her tutorial videos. Brennan was hired to update it. The new sound gives her a sense of energy and motion. You can hear it by pressing the play button above.

Advertisers want a way to stand out

A five second identifier for Union Home Mortgage that Brennan wrote will help the lender get its message out in a variety of ways, including podcasts.

Advertisers are revamping their strategies going into 2022.

Gayle Troberman, CMO of iHeartMedia, says in this Forbes article that companies need to be spending more on audio because that’s a large part of the audience.

Vehicle manufacturers need more sounds in their dash cam

Keep Trucking, a large fleet management company, hired Sonic Signatures to compose alerts. They include:

  • Turning the dash cam on
  • A warning if the driver is looking at his or her phone
  • A signal if the time spent driving limit has been reached. Breaks are required in large trucks.

Increasingly screens will go away, and consumers will be left with audio and different viewing platforms

In this presentation, Deloitte says:

“Imagine you are on vacation in the year 2030. You are sitting in your self-driving car and enjoying your favorite TV series on the windscreen, which is voice-controlled and functions as a high-resolution movie screen. Meanwhile, your children on the seats behind you are using the side windows as touchscreens for electronic games. Or how about this: Rather than the smartphone, ultra-smart augmented reality glasses are your constant companions in everyday life. They replace dozens of other screens and can be your personal navigation system and control unit for your smart home or your car. What may seem like a far-off dream of the future is actually closer than you think.”

Sonic Signatures is preparing for these changes and more.

Updated: June 26, 2022 at 5:12 PM EDT
This article was originally published on December 12, 2021.
With more than 30 years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market, Ann Thompson brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology.