“People Help the People”: Der Einfluss von Musik mit prosozialem Text in sozialen Werbespots
„People Help the People“: The Influence of Music With Prosocial Lyrics in Social Commercials

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Ann-Kristin Herget
Lena Gunnermann


Prosocial music (i.e., music that deals with or communicates social behavior, e.g., songs with lyrics that encourage listeners to help, donate, or save the environment) can motivate recipients to engage in prosocial behavior. For example, experiments have already shown that music with prosocial lyrics – played in the background of a café – can guide listeners to a more social behavior towards the waiters and to a more socially reflected purchase behavior (with prosocial music more fair-trade coffee than conventional coffee was bought). Surprisingly, the effect of prosocial music in the background of audiovisual media formats has not yet been investigated so far, although its use in persuasive media formats with social intents seems to be quite common. In a one-way between-subject laboratory experiment, 114 participants were randomly assigned to a social commercial with background music with prosocial or neutral lyrics. Participants in the prosocial condition stated increased intentions to act prosocial and donated more frequently money than participants who watched the commercial with neutral background music. These results suggest that the prosocial function of prosocial music can also be used in the context of audiovisual media formats.

prosocial music; advertising; Musical Fit; background music; behavioral change

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Research Reports on Thematic Focus