What do Simmons Bank, Walmart and Mazda all have in common? All are using the same music in TV spots currently running. So, is it the Simmons music that Mazda is stealing? Or are Simmons and Mazda using the Walmart music? Well, the truth is all 3 companies decided to spend a little less on sound design by declining to pay for custom production and instead purchasing available stock. This approach can be a smart financial move when the music purchased is not being used by others (at least while your spots are running). The client gets the benefit of music unique to its company without incurring the custom production costs. But as you can see (and hear) with the Simmons, Walmart and Mazda concert, this gamble did not work out.
The Walmart and Mazda spots are seasonal and not longterm efforts. These international companies have many other TV ads running that use a variety of music beds. So the shared music is not tightly wrapped around these two brands. The biggest victim of this stock music love triangle is the smaller Simmons Bank. The bank’s image campaign is anchored by this music. It’s played proudly and loudly in every TV ad for Simmons with a confident “Let’s Go!” ending. As long as Mazda and Walmart continue to run their spots with the same music, there will be a bit of brand distortion. It’s not that anyone will confuse the 3 companies but the fact that all 3 have the exact same music in their commercials does weaken the bank’s effort to use this audio design to establish brand originality and recognition. The lesson here is don’t put budget over brand protection- no matter how good the savings sound.