When it comes to shopping psychology, perhaps one of the most infamous tricks is to use slow music to make people walk more slowly. You would almost forget consumer psychology is about more than swaying customers into a turtle-like tempo. Fortunately, new research into the emotional effects of advertising music on branding portrays a refreshing new light on this old and beaten adage. While–again–music tempo appears to be an important factor driving effectiveness, it’s actually in a surprising direction.

The researchers varied music tempo while people watched ads, after which feelings, arousal and brand attitudes were measured.
Each of the four experiments suggest it’s wise for advertisers to err on the fast side when selecting a music track. High-tempo
themes consistently outperformed slower music in evoking pleasurable feelings, which directly affects brand attitudes. Interestingly, it was the feelings–not the arousal–from the music that increased people’s brand attitudes.

In line with dual-route modes of persuasion, these tempo effects of music only come into play when low-involvement products are advertised. In the case of messages that require higher levels of consideration, it’s better to refrain from using music at all.

Stewart, K., & Koh, H. E. (2017). Hooked on a feeling: The effect of music tempo on attitudes and the mediating role of consumers' affective responses. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 16(6), 550-564.