Sonixphere Snaps Homeowners Out of Frozen State
October 17, 2011— Sonixphere, a global resource for everything connected to music and sound, provided a dramatic score for Frozen, a PSA conceived by Shafer Condon Carter, Chicago, for the Ad Council, in partnership with the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The spot promotes the Making Homes Affordable program, which provides assistance to homeowners who are struggling with their mortgage payments.
The spot features vignettes of ordinary people “frozen” in their everyday routines, not knowing what to do when faced with the threat of losing their homes. A woman stands on her lawn oblivious to the sprinkler soaking her bathrobe; a factory worker stares into space. In the final vignette, a couple stares inertly at their bills until their child appears. Suddenly, his mother is able to take action. She picks up the phone to call the Making Homes Affordable toll-free number.
“The visuals and the storyboard were very powerful and shot very nicely,” says Sonixphere CEO and creative director, Greg Allan. “There was a slow motion feel to the spot that inspired us to create something on a sonic level that matched the frozen-from-uncertainty mood the picture depicted.”
The brief from Shafer Condon Carter Creative Director/Copywriter Denny Hebson and Art Director Cristin Young was to have the music portray conflicting moods and not be too “music-y.” “We needed a really cool track,” he observes. “It had to be stark and unsettling, a little hopeful, but not too hopeful; a little sad, but not sad-sad.”
“We approached the music for this spot similar to the way we would for a film,” notes Allan. “We talked about the emotion we wanted to evoke and what role the music and sound design would play. Since this spot has a storyline that begins in a dark place, has a turning point, and ends on a hopeful note, the challenge was to create a score that mirrored the visual journey and traveled the emotional distance the story takes you in 60 seconds.”
Sonixphere’s composers built a sound palette from synths and strings, beginning with a dark undertone. The result was a haunting piece of music with a bottom layer that creates tension by mirroring the “frozen” side of the people, while the lighter melody on top lends a feeling of hopefulness that the spot ends on.”
“We mimicked the picture with our score,” explains Allan, who launched Sonixphere two months ago and has since created music and sonic branding for Gears of War, Sports Authority, The Great Food Truck Race, and Secret Millionaire. “When the kid comes in the door in the last scene, he “breaks” the frozen spell so there’s a transition that was crucial to emphasize. The surreal world ends and the couple take action, so the music evolves into a lighter, happier melody.”
“Sonixphere knocked it out of the park,” confirms Hebson. “It’s an amazing track. I love working with these guys.”
It was very rewarding to work on project like this with a strong, positive message,” adds Allan. “Many people out there are struggling and can relate to the storyline.”