Music Lessons for Brainshark Authors: What You Can Learn from a TV Commercial

Music Lessons for Brainshark Authors: What You Can Learn from a TV Commercial
August 19, 2014

Media content is unavoidable. Think about how many TV commercials, radio ads, and news stories you see and hear as you’re getting ready for work, on your morning commute, or just lounging at home. But if you watch and listen closely, you’ll find there’s a lot you can learn from these daily media consumptions that can then be applied to your Brainshark presentations.

This is the first article in a three-part series that will explore some of these techniques and how they can be used to create and deliver more effective Brainshark presentations for your organization.  

Let’s start with TV commercials. is great site that tracks the top spenders as well as the most engaging commercials on a weekly basis. (You can even filter by industry!) As an example, I zeroed in on data from the last week of July and looked at every one of the top spenders and most engaging commercials. What jumped out at me was that every one of them incorporated music.

Try it at home and you will find that about 75% of commercials have music throughout, while 25% play music at some point. In fact, a Buffalo-based digital marketing agency, Mainstreethost, did a more detailed study last year and came up with similar results. Check it out for a more in-depth look at the type of music played.

What can Brainshark authors learn from this?

Although a typical Brainshark presentation is much longer than 30 seconds, the impact of music is undeniable. Here are some ideas for how you can incorporate it into your next presentation.

  1. As an author you have access to about 20 songs in the Background audio area of your Presentation Properties page (below), each with about 60 seconds of music.

  2. You also have access to the recently released collection of five Royalty free songs, with various length options that enable you to add music with fades.

  3. If your company has licensed music that you want to use in a Brainshark, it can be added by the Company Administrator, who can then give access to other authors.

  4. If you want to license additional music, the Royalty Free Music Library provides Brainshark customers with a 25% discount. Just contact and ask for the discount codes.

For one key research study on the role of music in advertising, David Huron of the University of Ohio looked at six ways music can contribute to the effectiveness of your content:

  • Entertainment

  • Continuity

  • Memorability

  • Language

  • Targeting

  • Establishing Authority

Of these, I believe that continuity is the most relevant to Brainshark authors. Background audio enables you to set the stage with a warm opening, signal a transition in the presentation, highlight key slides, and inform audiences that the presentation is almost over.

Careful though! Background audio can be counter-productive if used improperly. The music needs to match the tone of the presentation (or specific parts of your presentation). While a 30-second TV commercial is short enough that one track will suffice, presentations generally lend themselves to pauses or changes in audio—not just the same song on a loop.

For a cool example of how to successfully incorporate music into Brainshark presentations, check out this example from our Customer Presentation Gallery.

Want a more in-depth overview of what you can do with audio in your Brainshark presentations? Attend a 45-minute online training class.

Just looking for feedback? Send us the link to your presentations and we will give you suggestions for improvement through our Presentation Success Review.