U.S. companies spent nearly $400 billion in advertising last year. While much of that went to create memorable videos and images, there is a growing recognition that to sell a product, a customer's ears are just as important as his eyes, reports CBS News correspondent Don Dahler.
At Chili's, the signature sound of their sizzling fajitas is guaranteed to turn heads at every table, Mister Softee's iconic jingle serves up childhood memories with a side of ice cream. In "Star Wars," the movie screen says we're headed to a galaxy far, far away, but it's not until the audience hears that legendary music that the adventure truly begins.
They're called "sonic booms": a beat, pop or even a rallying cry like "Hands up, don't shoot!" They're the sounds that break through everyday noise and grab our attention.
"Boom moments are those moments where sound or music triggers some powerful emotional reaction that just transforms your experience in an instant," author and composer Joel Beckerman said.
His book, "The Sonic Boom," is about those captivating sounds and how they stick in your brain.
"It could be voices, your voice, your kid's voice and they also trigger these powerful memories; you remember how it felt to be there for that night," he said.
Beckerman knows a thing or two about sonic booms. For decades, corporate America has turned to him to brand its products with sound and music -- all in an effort to make us loyal customers, from AT&T Wireless to HBO to CBS News. He's the man behind the music at "CBS This Morning."
"Really, this was about pulling people in. 'Hey, there's important things you need to know.' We want to pull you into the story," Beckerman said.
Ten of the 15 most valuable global brands have invested in sonic branding as part of their marketing strategy. Beckerman said more and more companies recognize jingles alone don't sell products.
"We are not in the jingle era anymore, because jingles are very catchy. They might be memorable, but ultimately they're not very meaningful," Beckerman said. "What is new is how sound and music are used in association with these brands."
Clients want their sonic identity to tell a story. One day at his studio, Beckerman was recording a drum line for the Dallas Cowboys. They wanted a musical score for their home games at AT&T Stadium to resemble a soundtrack in a movie.
"Your home team is 4th and goal and it's a very, very tense moment. And what do you want to do if you're the home team? You want to pump up your fans," Beckerman said.
But just as a sonic boom can be a powerful ally, it can be equally destructive. In 2010, with much fanfare, Sun Chips' Frito Lay introduced a biodegradable bag, but consumers were almost instantly turned off.
"So noisy in fact that somebody put up a Facebook page that was called 'Sorry but I can't hear you over the sound of this Sun Chips bag,' and they got something like over 40,000 likes," Beckerman said.
The company pulled it from store shelves.
"We have to get smarter about how we use music and sound. Not only as companies and brands, but also as individuals," Beckerman said.
"It's this amazingly powerful force in our lives and if we use it well, everybody's life gets better," Beckerman said.
In less than an hour, Beckerman had transformed a single drummer into an entire marching band and created a sonic boom with a message: "Cowboy fans? Time to rally behind your team."
As for the music in our main theme and the Eye Opener at "CBS This Morning," it took Beckerman two months and eight different versions to finally nail it down.