Sound Design For Advertising

Making Your Advertisements Sparkle With Sound

What I love about post production sound design for advertising is that It tells a very quick and engaging story.  A narrator offering a message or call to action, music that injects pulse and emotion to the edit, and an array of impactful SFX bringing the visuals to life, all within a manner of second or minutes. It’s both fun & fast! Truly a recipe for exhilarating work.

Now, it’s not impossible to make a splash in the sea of video content on the web without sonic texture to help your visuals pop – but it sure does help your  reach when you have it! The sound of your advertising should feel natural enough that your audience finds themselves in your message, not outside the window looking in.  At least that’s my philosophy.  The investment to get that is not usually as large as most people assume. It does vary based on scope, but the window is quite reasonable respectively thanks to the systems I have developed focusing on commercial-corporate and documentary sound mastering.

One important factor to consider is that there is also particular target windows your sounds need to meet in order to translate across multiple playback mediums – which is most variable for online and broadcast marketing. There are laptop speakers, radios, televisions, phones, etcetera. One great mix should sound true on all of them, and if your editor is only using a single reference monitor (in an untreated room) to apply sonic touches it’s likely not going to sound as good everywhere as it does to them, there. I always have key analytical tools open as I work to ensure your mix is in that window from the start.

So let’s explore what you can expect a little bit more, shall we?

Your Dialogue – Clean, Clear, and Under Control.

If your digital marketing video has any interviewees or voiceover actors narrating your message then that is ground zero. I use iZotope’s state of the art editing suite to ensure any undesired sounds that might be leaching naturalness from your voice(s) is removed, allowing your message to be heard as you intended. It’s like photoshop for audio, and if it’s possible to fix, I can fix it. Then, with a transparently tailored application of dynamics and EQ – your voice sits like a pillar, stabilizing the experience, connecting with the viewer, and informing how the rest of the sounds engage. If it exists, Dialogue is the most important foundation when mixing for visual media, and first getting its characteristics to hit the target and feel natural informs everything else.

SFX & Foley To Breathe Life Into Your Scenes, And Your Brand

Sometimes this is actually the only work involved when sound designing advertisements, and an amazingly fun endeavour it is. Whether your scenes are totally real footage, or animated sci-fi machine graphics, cartoon characters, or somewhere in between with composited VFX – I’ve got terabytes of fully licensed SFX and more than 15 years of experience creating sounds from scratch with synthesizers. Typically both are used in large layer stacks to fill out the frequency spectrum for foundation, texture, and sparkle. But typical is just a fantasy – every project is unique – and every scene is a new exciting blank canvas that offers both challenge and adventure to express the visuals accurately, and subtly augment your brand identity along the way.

Additionally, it’s not uncommon for agencies to ask for a brand sonic when getting their advertisements sound designed.  This sound would go over your logo, or within a scene of the commercial like a sonic “product placement.” We can totally explore this, and sometimes it even helps inform the rest of the piece. If you already have a brand sound, we can also slightly alter it to better match your music or your scene. The possibilities are vast, you just gotta ask!



This project was super fun.  Every sound you hear other than the voice was sourced and designed here in the studio.  The whole shoot was MOS.  Each 1-minute spot is a multi=layered cake of both real foley, imagined atmosphere, and slamming sports FX.

Emotion, also known as – Music.

While the voice and SFX create context for the viewer, music is the element that drives emotion. Music composition is something I collaborate with partners for if it is needed for your advertisement. Most often when I receive a project the editor and producer have already signed off on the emotional pulse with stock music, and what I do is augment it in context with the rest of the sounds – making more space for the voices and SFX, driving the music forward to augment a scene from time to time, and helping the transitions, intros and out cues feel more smooth.

Don’t be shy to ask if you want to offload the music supervision in your project to help with the editing process. It is indeed something I and my extended team have done for a handful of projects with great client satisfaction. We can source stock music examples to help with the editing phase, and create custom cues as desired. We collaborate in the fantastic, so you can easily see the tracks in context and leave timestamped notes.  Music we source is licensed for TV, Broadcast, and Web, and if you would like original compositions your ownership of the masters is built into the price.

A Sound Mix That Translates Across Devices

The largely unknown challenge with sound design (to those outside of the profession) is that a good mix in one room doesn’t necessarily sound great on another system in another room. All playback systems and monitoring areas are slightly unique, and we professionals use multiple listening systems in treated rooms with specialized analytical tools to ensure media sounds consistent across multiple playback streams. This is particularly key to get correct when delivering your ads to broadcasters, who can and will reject applications if they don’t meet spec. Understanding these targets, and how to meet them consistently with dynamic input sources is the unseen sorcery of this craft. If this is a new concept to you, don’t worry – I’ve got you. I became a sound engineer because i think it is the perfect marriage where geekery meets artistry – and you get both here with me. 🤓

You Get The Stems

Upon completion I always provide the stems of your mix in case you want to re-purpose the audio in the future or make small adjustments on your end. It’s not uncommon that a small picture change occurs after we’re all signed off, and while I’m totally available to make any future adjustments, sometimes the editors find it easier to do it themselves with the stems – and with the tight timelines in our media industry, I think we’re all grateful for more flexibility in the chain of talent.

If we’re exploring a brand sonic you will also receive high quality .wav exports of that sound in various relevant capacities for re-purposing.

NDA’s Are An Unspoken Agreement Here

It goes without saying that in the production of marketing videos we are often working on material that has sensitive information not to be shared by anyone but the brand in alignment with their scheduled strategy. I’m always happy to sign an NDA, but you can assume that it’s understood as a part of the process here. I will always ask if a project is live, or for permission to add it to the portfolio before doing so. At the end of the day, this is your company’s intellectual property – I’m just here to make it awesome with you.

Curious About Anything Else?

Send me an email or a text anytime. I’d love to hear about what you’re working on, and I’m always happy to chat about how we can bring your marketing videos to life through sound – with or without a contract.