More than a soundtrack: The inaugural Adland ARIAs and how music elevates ads

aria awards arias

Plus: The potential areas that the ARIAs could expand to in the future

On Wednesday night, a who’s who of Australian music industry legends got glammed up for the 37th annual ARIAs. This year, however, a whole new set of people made their debut at the awards, with the introduction of the Best Use of an Australian Recording in an Advertisement awards.

Taking out the inaugural title in the Over Two Minutes category were Innocean Australia for their campaign with Australian Marine Conservation Society, using Voice of the Sea by John Williamson.

The Under Two Minutes category was won by 72andSunny with Campfire X for their Google campaign featuring Baker Boy.

See Also: ARIA reveals nominees for its inaugural Best Use of an Australian Recording in an Advertisement

Ahead of the ceremony, Mediaweek caught up with ARIA CEO, Annabelle Herd, to speak about the impact of the new awards.

The genesis of what became the Adland ARIAs began in 2021 when musician Holly Rankin (who performs as Jack River) encouraged the media to use more Australian music when highlighting major events like the Olympics. The movement morphed into Our Soundtrack Our Stories – which led to Our Soundtrack Our Ads – and ultimately inspired the introduction of the advertising ARIA Awards.

Our Soundtrack Our Stories

“Music really drives value for content and storytelling,” said Herd. “I have worked in media for a long time, I worked at Channel 10 for many, many years – I’ve seen the impact that music has on storytelling and on content. It made perfect logical sense to create a subsection of Our Soundtrack Our Stories to focus on advertising. 

“So we spoke with some people in the industry, everybody thought it was an amazing idea – it turns out ad people love winning awards! We combined these industries to celebrate and recognise both beautiful advertising that has local music, but also to incentivise more Australian brands to use Australian music.”

When it came to sitting down and choosing which of the nominees would come out on top, ARIA gave that job to a panel that consisted of people from both music and advertising. Their differences in backgrounds also came through in the judging process, with Herd saying that “they all looked for different things.”

I think that the campaigns that they’ve chosen stood out, because they were more than just putting a soundtrack against beautiful images. For example, in the case of Baker Boy, it was a whole campaign which not only highlighted his music, but himself as an artist.

“The storytelling created something broader than just a piece of visual content that goes for 30 seconds.”

The addition of the advertising ARIA awards is just as exciting for brands as it is for artists. When it comes to combining the two, Herd said that “What we know is that getting the right music for an ad can create something incredible.” 

“We did a panel at SXSW Sydney with Russell Howcroft, Holly Rankin, and Dr. Solange Glasser who’s a scientist in music and psychology. She spoke about the fact that there is real science behind the fact that music gives us actual chills, and when you combine that kind of music with content that gives you chills, you’ve got something incredible. We want that music to be local music.

“Brands benefit because they’re supporting local artists and using great music, artists benefit because they’re getting exposure and making beautiful content, and we think it’s great to be able to celebrate that.”

Whilst the 2023 awards are the first out of the gate, Herd said that they most certainly won’t be the last, as ARIA looks to introduce even more awards in the future. 

“We’ve had such strong support from Adland, and I’m really excited to see the reaction to the winners. Based on this year, this is something that we’re definitely going to be doing for a while. We really want to expand into other adjacent industries that use music to build their own businesses, because music is so critical. It’s a soundtrack to so many things that we do.”

When asked what, exactly, some of those industries that could be up for an ARIA in the future are, Herd told MediaweekFashion, film, television, gaming, even sport – all of those things that use music. We’ll be looking at that next year.”

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