The music people at advertising agencies are like anyone else in the music industry except that their jobs are even more blatantly about commercial functionality than art, which some might see as crass but can also be refreshingly honest. Like the music biz in general, music producers at ad agencies are more than willing to brazenly copy a sound that’s been successful for someone else. Cross that willingness with the relatively new concept of advertisements having a secondary job as a music discovery platform, let unimaginative ad music producers copy each other a few dozen or hundred times, and we end up with situations such as the one where any music that remotely resembles Mogwai or Explosions in the Sky—chiming, delay-saturated clean-tone guitar arpeggios plus slow, sweeping chord progressions and lots of cymbal washes—automatically sounds like it should be selling us a Mercedes-Benz Year End Event.
That’s a good sound to suggest transcendance through aspirational purchasing, but often advertisers are aiming for more of a vaguely nostalgic feeling laced with a hint of implied artisanal something or other, in which case the go-to sound is medium-tempo folk pop heavy on acoustic guitar and rolling drums with a chorus of young people doing something wordless and sing-along-y. Something like Philip Phillips’s “Home.” Or perhaps something by the Lumineers?