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How to write great music for adverts

Obstacle makes heartfelt films. We also write music.

Music is a film's superpower and deserves as much attention as any other part of a project. Here are some film music compositions that we're especially proud of.

We were delighted to write the music for McCain's Here's To Love TVC film campaign. The film came from the wonderful creative minds at advertising agency adam&eve ddb. Our thinking was simple - let the script speak for itself. The approach was to support the voice over and imagery with choice chord progressions played in a sensitive way. It worked. Testament to the wonderful script and filmmakers, this film campaign started in 2017 and has continued on our screens well into 2023.

The music we wrote for the WeGlow Together We Glow film campaign was one of our most unique. Our challenge was to evoke the stories of real women in a soulful and authentic way while building the energy of excitement.

Here's how we approached it.

Give the voice over breathing space (notice a theme?). This motivated the soft, spacious musical opening and allowed us to establish the soulful chord progression at the heart of the composition.

Think of it as a thriller. We built anticipation by introducing a metronomic element - listen out for the side-stick drum clicks - which dials up the sense of momentum. This is halted by a solo piano and a heart-beat drum used allow a calmer moment in the story. And then we're off again with a rapidly arpeggiating piano, a pulsing synth bass and the use of human breaths as a rhythm instrument - all designed to build anticipation.

Return to resting pulse. In our final shot, we re-join the real world. A jogger in a sunny park, their rhythmic breath, the birdsong. A moment that captures the emotional purpose of the brand. Music, like film, must land an ending for the audience - a new way of feeling that has developed from where we started.

The overall result is a heartfelt film - a 60 second blend of intimacy, soul, excitement and high energy.

These are just a few ways to write great music for adverts.


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