MassiveMusic Applies Science to Develop Colgate's Smile-Inducing Sonic Brand Identity
Colgate, the brand found in more homes than any other, wants the whole world humming an optimistic tune. The iconic oral care brand has launched its new sonic brand identity, a suite of sonic assets and compositions, produced by international creative music agency MassiveMusic London, in collaboration with MassiveMusic New York.
Whilst reshaping its visual identity, Colgate also saw an opportunity to stand out within the oral care sector by owning the ‘white space’ within sonic branding in FMCG. In partnership with Red Fuse, the global brand chose to work with MassiveMusic London to develop a distinctive and flexible sound that could live across its marketing, have global appeal and relevance, and which offered new opportunities for recall by consumers.
Whilst still a relatively untapped asset, sonic branding is increasingly becoming a key way legacy brands can differentiate themselves in a crowded market. Colgate understood the power of sound to help engage with audiences in new ways and entrusted MassiveMusic’s London team with the vision to ‘create a feeling’ and a holistic sonic experience.
Backed by strategy and science
Colgate needed a sonic brand that was memorable, modern and reflected its core brand promise of 'Optimism in Action', whilst also being flexible enough to be stretched into different genres and work across all product offers.
But what makes a sound ‘optimistic’? MassiveMusic ‘big idea’ was to ground the music in science - taking all subjectivity out of the equation, so you are left with a highly impactful sonic brand. Speaking to academics, ethnomusicologists and neuroscientists, MassiveMusic’s research pointed them towards the human hum as the perfect timbre (or sound quality) for the sonic logo. Consisting of a blend of both female and male tones, the sonic logo was meticulously recorded in such a way as to sound very real, close and natural.
The choice of key was again based on research, with the key of D Major being widely accepted as optimistic in nature. The choice of notation and the portmanteau bend towards the end of the sonic logo perfectly syncs to the smile visual animation and creates an activating feeling without being overbearing.
By creating a new and original sound that better matches who Colgate is as a brand, rather than looking to the sounds of the sector, Colgate has been able to carve out its own area in the market. Colgate’s new sonic DNA speaks to its history as a pioneering and modern brand.
Roscoe Williamson, global creative strategy director at MassiveMusic said: “Colgate is one of the most recognisable brands across the world - a brand many of us have grown up with. It was important that the new sonic experience not only felt fresh and exciting, but that it also embodied the brand's promise of ‘Optimism in Action’. The need was complex - a system of branded ‘watermarked’ music stemming from a sonic DNA and an iconic sonic logo. This needed to work across more than 200 countries via online content, radio, product and TVCs. And so we created a sonic architecture that could handle this complexity and an overarching aesthetic to the new Colgate music and sound that has universal appeal. To do this we worked with a team of academics and experts and were able to define music and sound cues that throughout history have represented optimism. These cues are at the heart of Colgate’s new sonic brand and have enabled a flexible system that represents the optimistic nature of the brand in a highly distinctive and holistic way.”
Jared Richardson, global head of design at Colgate, said: “It really was an incredible experience developing the Sound of Colgate with MassiveMusic. The process, collaboration and outcome was fascinating and really enjoyable. The result is a strategically valuable asset that will play out across our global marketing campaigns. We look forward to continuing developing this side of our brand.”
The new sonic brand was conceptualised and produced by MassiveMusic London, and will be rolled out across North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa-Eurasia, and Asia.
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