In the summer of 2008, I had the opportunity to score two commercials for Great Western Bank. This is my first opportunity to compose and produce original music for television broadcast commercials. One of the distinctive features of these two spots is that they both end with an audio ID. An audio ID is a unique, distinctive melody that is linked to a certain product or company. The audio ID is usually the last thing you hear at the end of an ad. It can either have a lyric or not. In the modern ad business, we tend to shy away from the vocal variety since they are perceived as cheesy (not that it prevents many clients from still using them).

Composing music for a 30-second commercial is very different than composing for choir or orchestra. First of all, there isn’t much time to develop a melody. You have to quickly establish a hook within a few measures. The other peculiar thing about scoring TV ads is that you have to stay out of the way of the voice-over and the commercial’s content. With that being the case, I found that I had to keep paring back all of the interesting musical elements in the mix to keep the score as simple as possible.