In three studies, we investigated how the pitch, tempo, and timbre of music can influence perception of an advertised product’s features. To do so, we created radio advertisements where either the pitch, tempo, or timbre of the music was manipulated. Participants were then asked several questions regarding their perception of the advertised products. Across all three studies, changing the pitch of the music did not change perceptions of an advertised sandwich’s size. However, by drawing participants’ attention specifically to the music (either by asking questions about the musical features in the ads or by playing both versions of the music with the ads for comparison), we found that faster tempo music led to the perception that sneakers would help the wearer run faster and that a trombone (as opposed to flute) timbre led to the perception of a more durable laptop. Together these results show that although features of music can influence product perceptions, the influence is minimal without emphasizing the music or ensuring participants’ attention to the relevant features.

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