Marketers have long used Sonic IDs to associate brands with a desired behavioral response that resonates on an emotional and subconscious level. Sonic IDs can be transient, leaving a vague affinity that rises to the fore only when encountered again; however some Sonic IDs like those employed by HBO have been known to persist through repeated encounters, tied to powerful narratives festooned with emotional hooks. Planet Money's Wailin Wong collaborated with Twenty Thousand Hertz to share this fascinating walk through the evolution of HBO's Sonic IDs:
Let's take a look at the visual portion associated with the Sonic IDs mentioned above in HBO 2.0, starting with the HBO Static Angel, which at over 20 years old, is showing it's age like this opening sentence from William Gibson's novel "Neuromancer": "The sky above the port was the colour of television, tuned to a dead channel"
By mimicking the introductions used by movie theaters at the time, HBO's 1982 intro sets the tone for future revisions to come:
1983 saw HBO further refining it's 1982 intro, stretching it out to over a minute long:
HBO began to use this shorter update of the 1983 intro in 2017, which would go on to be fractured into tiny sound bites lasting only seconds each, while retaining the same impact as the whole:
After all these years, that theme music and that static sound are still the foundation of HBO's sonic brand. They're catchy. They're memorable. And they're just satisfying to listen to. But the nostalgia that people have for these sounds is just as important as how they were designed, and nostalgia isn't something you can manufacture, and it's definitely not something you can buy.