Advertising and music have gone hand in hand since the 1920s. A century later, brands continue to marry the two with data-driven strategy on new media platforms.

Here are the most-viewed YouTube car ads in Malaysia in 2020:


We analyzed music from these videos to help advertisers and automotive companies targeting Malaysia to make data-driven musical decisions in their next campaign.

These ads leaned heavily Electronic, with the Tag Demo determining that they contained 46.1% electronic elements, followed by 13.2% Rock and 11.3% Industrial.

Most of the music leaned strongly toward Powerful (46.6%) followed by Angry (15.9%) and Exciting (15.3%). These moods generally point toward fairly high intensity.

All tracks had a 50/50 chance of falling within either the medium or medium-high level of energy, which may support the primarily Powerful mood seen in the previous page.

None of the music had Positive emotion, with 50% being Neutral, and 50% being Negative.

90% of the music was written in a minor key.

In terms of instrumentation, 90% of the tracks featured Percussion, showing a preference for highly rhythmic and/or transient-heavy elements in the selected music.

There was no overwhelming preference for a specific BPM, though three groups emerged at around 100BPM, 125BPM, and above 150BPM. The Toyota advertisement was not included due to large fluctuations in tempo.

In short, what does this mean for advertisers and car companies targeting Malaysia? 

Based on the data gleaned from these 10 highly-viewed videos in 2020 using the Tag Demo, theoretically ideal music for such an ad would feature:

  1. A majority of Electronic genre elements with Rock and Industrial influences.
  2. A mainly Powerful mood, with Angry, Tense, Dramatic, or Exciting nuances.
  3. A Medium or Medium-High energy level.
  4. A Neutral or Negative emotion.
  5. A Minor Key
  6. The inclusion of Percussion in its instrumentation
  7. Tempo around 100BPM, 125BPM, or above 150BPM.

Analysing music that works well in the market may allow advertisers and companies to maximize their chances of creating something that will be received well.

But, just because one type of music is currently working well does not mean it will continue to work well, nor that it will mesh well with other creative elements.

Human discretion must be applied in the decision to follow a trend or buck it entirely.

In both of these cases, the data helps us to understand preferences by geography, industry, and can be made as broad or granular as desired. 

Knowledge is power, and AI can give us that, but the art of making the final decisions based on experience and instinctive understanding lies with us.

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