For Advertisers, Nothing Beats a Natural Sound

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For Advertisers, Nothing Beats a Natural Sound

"Returning to nature" currently is a popular theme among advertising companies in Korea. An important part of inspiring a natural setting in commercials is selecting just the right music. Advertisers search for music that reminds people of things that are forgotten in the daily grind, such as their childhood, hometown or a natural beauty. Doing so helps give a manipulative touch of humanity to advertisers' work. Many commercials for high-technology products are thus using New Age music, which is supposed to mimic the sounds of nature in some cases or evoke nostalgia in others.

Music by Luc Baiwir, Yuki Kuramoto, Andre Gagnon, or Secret Garden are popular choices for the current advertising trend. Works by these musicians frequently appear in movies and television dramas as well. Baiwir's "Genesis," for instance, was recently used both in an advertisement for a telecommunication service company and in the popular Korean movie "Friends." Baiwir's "In Memorium" was also featured at the beginning and the end of the movie. His music is said to be inspired by light streaming in through stained glass windows.

Baiwir strives to reproduce this image by combining a string orchestra with a synthesizer and a soprano or a flute solo.

Kuramoto's piano works are used in advertisements and television dramas, and this has contributed greatly to the success of his album in Korea. Thanks to this lucrative publicity, tickets to Kuramoto's recent performances at both Seoul Arts Center and Sejong Hall for Performing Arts sold out in advance.

Experts suggest a few reasons for this new advertising trend. According to Choi Man-sik, 35, who directed the music for "Friends," Baiwir's music has a full rich sound, featuring beautiful lyrics. "Baiwir's works are sad and gloomy yet not too sentimental, and thus good for stimulating the emotions of listeners. His works are similar to pieces written by Arvo Part or Henry Gorecki, both popular composers of 20th century contemporary music," explained Choi. New Age music is great for helping an advertisement or a movie elicit an emotional response from its viewers. New Age music usually is usually only instrumental. Therefore the music has no message of its own, and advertising agents can project any meaning they want to with the music as they try to enhance the image of a product. New Age music is considered more classy than Korean or western pop songs, but it is not as intimidating as classical music. "New Age music is as artistic as classical music, and classical repertories that used to appear in advertisements with a corporate image are often replaced by a New Age score these days," Mr. Kim explained. Jeong-ho, 38, who worked as a music consultant for "Blue Fog," a recently aired television drama.

by Lee Jang-jik

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