Small sounds, big impact: sonic logos and their effect on consumer attitudes, emotions, brands and advertising placement

Document Type


Date of Original Version



Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to show how sonic logos, despite their brief exposure time, resonate with consumers’ emotions and attitudes in a manner that until now has been attributed to only longer background music in advertising. The moderating role of sonic logo placement within the ad (beginning versus ending) and the mediating role of emotion felt after exposure to the brand and advertisement are also explored. Design/methodology/approach: An expansion on sonic logo research is completed through two experiments testing nine hypotheses. A pretest is also conducted to create two orthogonal sonic logos (sad sonic logo and happy sonic logo) which are then used in the two experiments. Findings: Participants had higher attitude scores for an advertisement that had a happy sonic logo over the ad that had a sad sonic logo. These consumer attitudes are mediated by emotion felt because of the exposure to the brand and advertisement and are moderated by placement of the sonic logo within the ad. Placement drove more positive consumer attitudes of a sad sonic logo at the beginning and a happy sonic logo at the end of the advertisement. Practical implications: Given the short nature of a sonic logo, sonic logo placement in the advertisement is shown to change consumer perceptions. This effect uncovers an important aspect of placement of the sonic logo in the advertisement which gives practitioners a means of application. Furthermore, consumer emotions drive these strong attitudes despite the short exposure times of the sonic logo. Originality/value: This paper expands upon the limited sonic logo research and shows how the short exposure time of a sonic logo can have the same emotional qualities as long-form music, previously reserved for background music in advertising. In addition, by uncovering the mediating relationship of emotion felt after exposure to the brand and advertisement, it is shown how these short audio branding elements can help shape emotion and consumer attitude toward brands. Finally, altering placement of the sonic logo can enhance consumer attitudes of the advertisement and brand.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Journal of Product and Brand Management