In advertising, we wield the power of music to create emotional connections and influence purchases. “I’d like to teach the world to sing” (Coke) and “Give me a break…” (Kit Kat) are just two ditties etched into our collective psyche. That’s why I find it particularly gratifying when our industry employs music for the greater good. These campaigns have one commonality: They use music to heal.


Music Beats Cancer

A severe funding gap known as the “Valley of Death” persists for scientists and technologists attempting to create new medicines and develop other innovative ways of fighting cancer. Music Beats Cancer leverages the power and passion of music to help raise funds and awareness of innovative new therapies. The program — in essence, it’s a music-based Kickstarter — is a one-of-a kind approach to the war on cancer.



The Radio Recliner campaign is based around an online radio station, where seniors in assisted-living facilities use their phones to record 60-minute shows. Each DJ has a handle, picks her own music and gives shoutouts to family. The audio is then sent off to production staffers who handle the technical details. What I like about this idea is that it combats social isolation and loneliness in an unexpected, empowering and heartwarming way.   


Casanova/McCann, Ad Council and Pivotal Ventures

It can be hard for teenagers to discuss their emotions. Conversations with parents are sparse, and there isn’t a map to turn to for direction. Sound It Out is changing that by guiding teens to use song lyrics to express their feelings. Recording artists and mental health experts jointly conducted interviews with middle-schoolers to understand their innermost thoughts. The artists then translated the emotions and experiences into songs. Meanwhile, the website leans in even further, providing instruction on writing effective song lyrics. Using the power of songs to promote meaningful conversations and emotional well-being is truly music to everyone’s ears.


Area 23 and Woojer

Imagine having to use a chest-pounding, mucus-clearing vest two times a day to breathe. For kids with cystic fibrosis, it’s their reality. Sick Beats is the world’s first music-powered airway-clearance vest, using sound wave therapy to change the vest experience for the better. The prototype syncs with a smartphone to pull therapeutic 40Hz frequencies from Spotify-curated music and then sends them to the chest area. This idea is groundbreaking because it uses music to revolutionize an entrenched standard of care and has the power to improve CF outcomes.

Musicians on Call

Musicians on Call brings live music from famous performers and local celebrities to the bedsides of patients undergoing treatment or unable to leave their hospital rooms. What I love about this idea is that it uses music to add a dose of joy to life at an otherwise joyless time.