The Sonic Cinematic Style of Anna San Juan

(Music Supervisor Anna San Juan)

There’s always been a personal approach and inclination for working beyond specified business parameters that has enabled the most successful professionals in the advertising world to dominate. Advertising appeals to our emotions and our ego and music is a strong factor in this. Music Supervisor Anna San Juan is an example of the modern iteration of a music supervisor in this world and what can be achieved through simultaneous implementation of knowledge, skill, and ingenuity. While originally focused on the film industry, her forays into the ad industry have been momentous and intuitive. The rethinking of old paradigms by Anna and her generation have yielded huge results for ad agencies and their clients while also benefitting the music artists with whom she works in tandem. Not many business professionals are able to offer this scenario that rewards all involved parties; it’s a fact that Anna is immensely proud of and which keeps her fulfilled and working tirelessly in this business.

The opportunities for someone like Anna who is immersed in the world of music and film are vast in the present day. The technological advances of the past decade have significantly altered the manner in which the public absorbs both entertainment and information. Tapping into a specific emotion quickly is most often the product of marrying a song with a visual moment, regardless of the emotional tone. When New York based ad agency Bear in the Hall reached out to Ms. San Juan to utilize her talents as a Music Supervisor, it was with the awareness that she has often manifested the unimaginable for films and could achieve the same for commercials. In a most untraditional manner, Anna procured the massive hit song “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” for an ADT Security Systems campaign. This party standard and dance club mainstay has amassed over 7,000,000 views online. Aware that the Covid national health crisis would potentially cause massive delays, Anna took the unusual approach of contacting Maurizio ‘Maury’ Lobina of Eiffel 65 himself via Instagram about using the song. This began the process that would lead to the use of the song by ADT, benefitting the company as well as the artist during the height of the global pandemic when musicians were essentially forbidden to perform and thus earn their normal income. Though the days when Anna would attend concerts and introduce herself to artists and establish a rapport are on pause during the pandemic, social media is an opportunity to make these virtual handshakes.

San Juan concedes that what is deemed as the perfect song for a commercial may not always be obtainable. However, her creativity has proven that a different approach may result in an even greater response. ADT’s commercial which features the song “All I Have To Do Is Dream” has consistently aired on prominent networks like CNN and others across the U.S. and has accumulated a massive forty-one million views on YouTube. While it was the Everly Brothers (as recorded by Lauren O’Connell) version that was originally desired for this campaign, a number of factors prohibited its use. Undeterred and possessing a relentless thirst to deliver what was desired by the client ADT Security Systems via Bear in The Hall, Anna formulated a plan to deliver a positive solution for all. She immediately contacted esteemed Los Angeles based composer Maxton Waller to provide a bespoke recording of the track, all while helping negotiate a fair price with the publisher as well as the exclusive recording; leaving all parties satisfied with the result. The popularity of this ad speaks to its strong resonation with consumers.

Anna points out that there’s a great deal of creativity involved in her work. It’s far more than simply obtaining the rights to use a song. Hearkening back to her days in the film industry, Ms. San Juan communicates that it’s often a team effort focused on achieving a singular vision. Melt Cosmetics enlisted Anna for their “Amor Eterno” 2019 Collection campaign. Unsatisfied with a previous version of the ad, the company partnered her with director Jeremy Cloe (a Student Academy Award Winner in the Narrative Category) in hopes of solidifying a video commercial that would spark attention. San Juan already had a positive relationship with Peer Music, who just so happened to be in charge of the requested song’s publishing side. Benefitting from Anna’s connections, the acquisition of the Melt Cosmetic’s ideal song led to immense popularity including 134,000 views on Instagram TV. This commercial was the most viewed video in the history of the Melt Cosmetics Instagram page and became so popular that it was featured by Sephora on their own YouTube platform.

With more pride than bravado, Anna San Juan admits that she likes being the personal solution to the problem of getting the perfect song for these commercials. These brief stories are the ones which people see every day and establish small emotional moments throughout their day. At the same time, Ms. San Juan is helping companies and artists to thrive during one of the most challenging periods of recent global history. While achieving all of this positivity, she still is able to work every day on the quest for music that interested her as a young girl growing up in Manila. Few of us get to please all involved parties and ourselves as Anna San Juan does.

An LA based writer with more than a decade as a staff writer for NYC based Drumhead magazine, Kelly is also a contributor to a number of outlets.