Grey Group’s CCO: Using music as a fundamental part of the creative process

Music is a great companion for creative industry practitioners. Whether they need to hit a deadline or relax at home, they can resort to various genres of music to help create or disconnect them from the world. Marketing magazine is working with JOOX to invite creative industry practitioners to talk about their music consumption habits, and how to better leverage music in marketing.

In our seventh interview for the Marketers’ Music Mind series, we talk to Huma Qureshi, chief communications officer for Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa at Grey Group.

Everyone has their own tastes and preferences. When it comes to music, some may go for pop or rock music, but there are some people who are open to everything. 

Qureshi is one of these people. 

“I have always gravitated towards bands that are unique. Of course, I also like the usual pop music and classic bands too,” she says. 

When Qureshi was young, she liked Madchester, a musical and cultural scene that developed in Manchester in the late 1980s, where artists merged alternative rock with elements of acid house, rave music, psychedelia and 1960s pop.

To Qureshi, the scene was not just about music as these bands “had something to say, were rebellious and weren't afraid of being different.”

In every piece, we ask our interviewees to name their top five music artists. This time around, it turns out to be a headache for Qureshi. 

“I'd probably opt to tell you the top five tunes that I am listening to currently: Two Feet’s BBY; Topic, A7S (ft. Lil Baby)’s Why do you lie to me; Dua Lipa (ft. DaBaby)’s Levitating; Imani Coppola’s Just feels good; and Clean Bandit, Mable (ft. 24kGolden)’s TickTock,” she says. “This is what's great about music: The broad spectrum to suit all tastes and different music genres at any given moment in time.”

Nowadays, people can easily access their preferred tunes anytime and anywhere, no matter how niche their favourite type may be.  Taking JOOX as an example, the music streaming platform provides more than 30 million songs in its music library from all over the world, connecting audiences to a huge collection of artists, songs, albums and personalized playlists in different genres.
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While music has been an intrinsic part of Qureshi’s life, also affecting her work and even marketing directions, she is also a big fan of podcasts as she listens to both hard news and soft content. Currently, JOOX podcast offers a wide variety of topics ranging from artist-sharing, music reviews and language learning to entertainment content such as daily horoscopes, or horror and love stories. The service is now available in markets like Thailand and Indonesia and will soon be launched in Hong Kong.

She explains that technology has made music more accessible than ever, which means the number and variety of artists people are exposed to have increased exponentially. 

As a music app with the highest number of downloads on App Store and Google Play, JOOX’s content is capable of providing recommendations catered to users’ tastes and advertising content to target audiences.

Since its launch in 2015, JOOX has attracted a myriad of international brands, including Shell, McDonald’s,  Coca-Cola and adidas, to place ads in its platform.

Boasting a strong influence in Asia, Qureshi agrees that JOOX does “great things in the music streaming world, helping make music enjoyment seamless.” She said JOOX has also leveraged algorithms to tune in more to people's consumption patterns, which allows brands and marketers to tap into opportunities music that streaming platforms offer.

In the old days, music was just relegated to being used as a soundtrack to commercials. “I did feel it had often been under utilised,” Qureshi tells. “Despite the fact that music is an emotional trigger and a creator of memories, brands too often are playing it safe. The biggest problem is that music is frequently an afterthought and not a fundamental part of the creative process within marketing.”

She suggests that brands can form deeper collaborations with artists. Brands can also commission songs, support up-and-coming musicians and understand how music and brands can work together within the realm of AI-powered voice technology. 

JOOX recently has collaborated with adidas Hong Kong to incorporate digital audio elements into the sportswear company’s latest campaign, producing a series of creative and storytelling 3D audio ads to promote new running shoes.

The campaign leverages an immersive audio technology, a new multi-dimensional approach to audio storytelling that immerses listeners in an expanded sonic field that goes beyond traditional surround sound. It’s also designed to produce a fully immersive experience where audio is perceived as coming from everywhere.
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When it comes to ads featuring great music that just fitted the creative mood of the ads, she names some classic examples, such as Nick Kamen in the launderette with the sound of Marvin Gaye's Heard it Through the Grapevine; and Brad Pitt coming out of prison with the sound of 20th Century Boy by T-Rex.

However, these are not Qureshi’s favourite ads yet. 

“My favourite music in a piece of brand content would be Makeba by Jain for the Levi's Circles ad. It is a commercial that celebrates inclusivity, diversity and individuality, and it's cleverly done because the brand message is that their products are for everyone,” she tells. 

Similar to the meticulous planning and curation in the Levi’s ads, JOOX is doing great things in the music streaming world.

“It is a distinctive Asian brand helping make the enjoyment of music seamless. This is one of the great things about music streaming - it has removed barriers, allowing for the consumption of music anytime, anywhere, online, offline and on any device,” she concluded.

For each one of our Marketers' Music Mind features, Marketing is collaborating with JOOX to produce a bespoke [playlist] based on our interviewee’s answers for our readers. Scan the QR code to see what we made and enjoy!
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This content was sponsored by JOOX