Introduction to Ad Hooks

The idea we’ve been pursuing on the Hooks music site is that there are memorable moments of peak value in recorded music (we know! we love them!) which reveal interesting elements when we look at them closely. Maybe they manifest some general pattern we wouldn’t have thought of, or they’re informed by what else is going on in the piece, or in the universe, in such a way that they bring larger things to a brilliant focus.

We should be having this sort of conversation about hooks in advertisements, too. Like popular music tracks, advertisements set out to hook us, and we want to be savvy about our own hookability – this is part of our cultural competence. Also like popular music tracks, advertisements sometimes succeed, whether skillfully or in spite of themselves, in powering up some dearest wish, darkest fear, or deepest thought, perhaps a widely shared one; and sometimes they just burst out in beauty.

Can we talk? I’ll start the ball rolling. Comment away, and let me know ( if you’d like to post a Contribution.

About Steve Smith

Emeritus Professor of Philosophy & Religious Studies at Millsaps College
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1 Response to Introduction to Ad Hooks

  1. Vick Miles says:

    Not surprisingly, music is often used as a hook in commercials. I’m thinking of a few recent coke ads and some Travelers commercials of not too long ago with the song “Trouble,” e.g.

    My favorite recent ad is the Google magic word ad where the young boy and the dog steal the show with their emotional charms –


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