Music to get the creative juices flowing

Across the last ten years of Creative Social, music has always come up as one of those lost arts in advertising. It sometime feels like music is the forgotten soul, especially in digital advertising as Rafa Soto, founder and creative director of Herraiz Soto, wrote about in our first book. It is something that Alex Lavery, founder and creative director of Pitch&Sync, also talks about in our latest book in his chapter entitled Money can’t buy me love, providing a recipe for success when it comes to working with music. And yet music has been responsible for some of the most iconic ads of the last decade (e.g. Chipotle, Cadbury’s Gorilla and Dumb Ways to Die to name but a few) and it is interesting to see John Lewis doing with its Xmas ads (see Christmas! John Lewis’s annual gift to the music industry!) what Levi’s did in the 80s for UK chart toppers. 

B0007842 Computer simulated pyramidal neurons
But sometimes we forget how powerful music can become in helping get those creative juices flowing. According to Jonah Lehrer, a neuroscientist, “Music can alter the state of our brainwaves, as well as trigger neurotransmitters, like dopamine, that alter our mood and reward us for creative breakthroughs”. So what music gets your creative juices flowing? Thats exactly what we asked 10 Creative Directors from the industry. And if you like what you hear be sure to subscribe to the Spotify and Youtube playlist we have created. Enjoy:

The Cure – Hanging Garden

“You forget how good they were and then, within two seconds of the intro of the Hanging Garden, you remember.”

George Prest, Executive Creative Director, R/GA London

Pink Floyd –  The Wall

“This was one of the first albums I ever bought. I must have been 11 or so. I know it so well that if you woke me up at 4 AM and gave me a chord, I could play it from there. I think its familiarity calms and focuses me. I can’t listen to new music, when I’m working/thinking. It’s too distracting. Something familiar, however, allows my mind to wander.”

Lars Bastholm, Global CCO, Rosetta

John Hopkins – Immunity

“This is changing all the time. At the moment it’s JH. In fact I am listening to it RIGHT now.”

Flo Heiss, Creative Director, Dare

Dolly Parton – Working 9 till 5

“When I play this song I feel like everyone suddenly seems to be choregraphed to the music. Everything seems to come together and I usually realise I actually really like my job.”

Abi Ellis, Group Creative Director, Digitas LBi

Johnny Cash – Rusty Cage

You wired me awake
And hit me with a hand of broken nails
You tied my lead and pulled my chain
To watch my blood begin to boil

But I’m gonna break
I’m gonna break my
I’m gonna break my rusty cage and run

Sam Ball, Creative Director, M&C Saatchi


“The output of Nick Cave is dissying. Is dissying a word. Dizzying. It makes me feel dizzy. So much of it and all so good. I love the fact he can just kinda pop up with a new band that’s sorta like his old band with a new sounds that’s just kinda like his old sound but called something different. And everyone loves it and no one asks stupid questions.”

Andy Sandoz, Creative Partner, Work Club

Laura Mvula – Green Garden

“It’s just really bright and chippy, If I’m stuck I’ll usually go outside, I don’t care what the weather is like.”

Pete Petrella, Founding Partner, Black Book London

War on Drugs – Lost in the dream

“Really good background music, it’s sounds like half Bruce Springsteen and half Fleetwood Mac.”

Seb Royce, Chief Creative Officer, Rockabox

Smalltown by Lou Reed and John Cale

“It talks about ambition, drive, opportunities that are up for grabs. I’m from a small town and I feel very reflected in the lyrics of the song.”

Edu Pou, Executive Creative Director, The Barbarian Group

Pixies – Surfer Rosa & Come on Pilgrim, or Nick Cave – Tender Prey

” This is a hard one – music is my biggest love and inspiration. I’m an avid listener of everything and am constantly in Rough Trade, adding to my obsolete stack of albums.But both of these albums I keep coming back to over and over again. Beginning to end, pure joy and epic wildness. Anger and a real sense of that seething, powerful force we call creativity. Filthy sounds and filthier words. Things that shouldn’t be said, said with humour and a certain matter-of-factness. Its easy to get swept away.”

Laura Jordan Bambach, Creative Partner, Mr President

You can listen to all the tracks on this SPOTIFY PLAYLIST

And here are the tracks plus a few extras in 1 handy YouTube playlist…

This post is part of a series of content to celebrate 10 years of Creative Social, read more HERE #WeAre10



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