A new venture brings together screen composers and advertisers promises commercials with blockbuster themes

Leading artists to create bespoke music for high-end advertising campaigns - it's a chance to bring cinematic music to a different world

Ask viewers to name the most irritating advert on television and Go Compare’s campaign featuring a warbling opera singer regularly tops the list.

But is there a more effective way for a brand to soundtrack a major campaign than the price comparison website’s migraine-inducing repetition?

What if your 30-second commercial could incorporate the epic orchestral sweep of a big-screen blockbuster such as Gravity, or the high-drama turbo injection of a thumping James Bond score?

The creators of those memorable soundtracks are now available to hire through a creative venture, backed by Britain’s leading screen composers, which aims to replace crude commercial “jingles” with a more sophisticated musical backdrop.

Composers including David Arnold, who devised the music for the Bond films Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, and Steven Price, who won an Oscar for his Gravity score, are to collaborate with leading artists to create bespoke new music – from instrumentals to fully fledged vocal tracks – for high-end advertising campaigns.

The Bafta-nominated Ilan Eshkeri (Kick Ass) and Dickon Hinchliffe – a founder member of the band Tindersticks, who composed the soundtrack for the backwoods drama Winter’s Bone – have also signed up to the initiative, created by Universal Music’s Globe commercial division.

For advertisers, hiring an Oscar-winning composer adds instant credibility to any campaign and helps to make a commercial an “event”.

Despite the restrictions of working to a 30- or 60-second brief dictated by a brand, the composers believe the link-up can generate innovative musical shorts which will outlast the commercial campaign.

Universal Music, whose roster extends from Elbow to Lady Gaga, will make its artists available to collaborate with the composers and the results will be released through its labels, such as Decca. The famous Abbey Road studios will be placed at the disposal of the musicians to assist the creation of lavish orchestrations.

“Can you imagine Lana Del Rey collaborating with David Arnold for a BMW advert?” asked Nick Angel, a leading film music supervisor who is overseeing the project.

Angel, who compiled the soundtracks for films including Billy Elliot and The World’s End, said: “You can’t underestimate the importance of music in bringing a visual to life, and composers who work in film know better than anyone just how to do that.

“These guys spend their lives writing to pictures, sometimes having to build emotional and adrenaline punches in a short period of time. They’re used to working to a brief with directors and producers. It’s an opportunity to bring cinematic music to a different world.”

Composing to order for a commercial could actually offer greater freedom than a major film score. “Films are so micro-managed. There are a lot of people to make happy and you have to hit a story cue every second,” said Arnold, whose credits range from Independence Day to the BBC’s Sherlock.

He said he would be “very particular” about the brands he worked with, and accepted that his role would ultimately be to help a company sell its product. He said: “Sometimes it’s just a hook which will grab your ears, which is similar to a good film theme. You’re looking for something to make the listener stand up and take notice.”

The composers’ entry spells bad news for rock and pop acts who have increasingly relied upon the use of old hits in adverts to top up their royalties.

The business of “sync” – the strategic placing of songs on adverts, television trailers, computer games and film soundtracks – generated £19m for British musicians last year, according to the trade body BPI.

Last year, Blondie recorded painstaking reconstructions of its classic hits so that they could be placed at the disposal of brands including VW, Heinz and Commonwealth Bank.

“Now advertisers can commission music that stands apart from old songs and covers,” said Angel. “You can call the guy who won the Oscar for Gravity or Winter’s Bone if you’re looking for something in that style. Instead of a reworked oldie, the John Lewis Christmas advert could be artists collaborating on a new piece of music.”

Angel said that his ideal would be to pair PJ Harvey, whom he signed when he was an executive at Island Records, with one of the composers – although he accepts that there are few commercial campaigns which might appeal to the singer.

It is common for directors such as Sir Ridley Scott and Baz Luhrmann to jump between the worlds of advertising and films, often pocketing large cheques to help fund their big-screen projects.

However Craig Armstrong, the Bafta-winning Scottish composer who has collaborated with Luhrmann on films including Moulin Rouge and The Great Gatsby, and has dipped his toe into the world of advertising, prefers to keep his distance. He said: “I arranged Debussy’s ‘Claire de Lune’ for the Nicole Kidman Chanel No 5 advert with Baz [a 2003 mini-movie costing £18m] in Paris, and it was great fun, but I’m not personally attracted to making adverts as a way of making a living. I’m much more interested in scoring a film or making a record.”

Viewers will welcome the aural salvation promised by the composers who do lend their skills. Even a certain moustached opera singer may have had his day. Last year GoCompare.com posted a £10.2m drop in pre-tax profits, prompting a rethink of its musical calling card.

 

Adverts may pack the punch of films such as ‘Quantum of Solace’ (above) with composers such as David Arnold involved bloomberg

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Extras
indybest
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Voices
'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella
voicesVicky Chandler: Zoella shows us that feminism can come in all forms
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Head of Finance - Media

£80000 - £90000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: Working for an International Mul...

Business Development Manager

£25000 - £27000 per annum + Bonus: Sauce Recruitment: Within your role as Busi...

IT Graduate

£15 - 20k: Guru Careers: We are looking for an eager IT Graduate / Technology ...

Ad Director / Sales Director

£55 - 65k + 25% Y1 OTE + Fantastic Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an e...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?