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

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
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

Ashdown Group: Business Relationship Manager

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Business Relationship Manager - Enfield, North Lond...

Recruitment Genius: Online Customer Service Advisor

£13000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A chance to work for an extreme...

Sauce Recruitment: Partnership Sales Executive - TV

competitive + benefits: Sauce Recruitment: An award-winning global multi-media...

Sauce Recruitment: Account Director

£26017.21 - £32521.19 per annum + OTE $90,000: Sauce Recruitment: My client is...

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea