12/15/19 • ‘Tis The Season…For A Good Jingle

As posted in the Gaston Gazette

Jingle bells, jingle bells. No, not that kind of jingle – we’re talking marketing jingles this holiday season.

The pure power of jingles is undeniable. You might be singing your favorite advertising tune in this moment. Are you meowing to the Meow Mix song? Are you rhythmically spelling Oscar Mayer? Are you “stuck on Band-Aid brand”? Jingles have strength; they are musical earworms that creep into your mind slowly and simply stay there.

So how can you successfully create a jingle that has this magical staying power? What harmonious strategies will allow your business to shine when using this marketing technique? Here are five tips for orchestrating a catchy jingle:

  • Keep it simple. Think about the popular jingles that you’ve hummed recently. They’re unlikely to be verbose and complicated. Rather, the tune is effortless, and the lyrics are simply strung together, possibly even repetitive. “We are Farmers. Dun dun dun dun dun dun dun”: A straightforward, brief, melodic jingle that will have insurance holders everywhere singing about the Farmers brand. According to a BBC article, “Music helps because it provides a rhythm and rhyme and sometimes alliteration which helps to unlock that information with cues. It is the structure of the song that helps us to remember it, as well as the melody and the images the words provoke.” The simpler that you keep your jingle, the easier it is to remember and repeat.
  • Be a bit silly. Whether it’s advertising toilet paper – “My hiney’s clean. Oh yeah, I’m Charmin clean.” – or a local restaurant, jingles are typically lighthearted and upbeat. Yes, they are even upbeat when talking about “nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea.” That cheerful tone attracts attention and positively portrays a brand, even when the messaging or product is a bit unpleasant. It also immensely aids in retention. The older we grow, the harder it is to retain new information; a New York Times piece detailed this phenomenon, noting that when the brain is full of clutter from the past, it leaves little room for budding memories. But by capitalizing on creativity and the youthful heart, recall increases. Said a Vice writer, “music can reach down into the deepest, darkest bits of your memory pools and wrench open things you didn’t even [realize] were there.”
  • Repeat then repeat again. Earworms often occur as a result of repetition. Do you know every lyric of a song after hearing it once or multiple times? Do you sing popular tunes aloud even though you’ve called them “overplayed”? Repetition creates a powerful memory – a welcomed one or not. An article from Forbes Magazine elaborated, “It’s hard to make a lasting impression on a consumer within a 30-second time slot, but if you can hook them with a jingle that they’ll sing for the rest of the day, then you’re maximizing your ad buy exponentially.” But note that it’s not enough to play your brand’s tune just once. By reaching toward target audiences through a variety of mediums – radio, television, digital media, etc. – you’ll provide numerous opportunities for a consumer to hear, remember and repeat as well as act. Use your jingle wisely and share it widely, and often.
  • Take a cue from your childhood From learning the alphabet to teenage attempts at memorizing state capitals, melodic mnemonic devices prove beneficial. The adult mind still works this way; music acts as a cue to memories. A Wall Street Journal article noted the power of musical memorization: “The hippocampus and the frontal cortex are two areas of the brain associated with memory and they process millions of pieces of information every day. Getting the information into those areas is relatively easy … What is difficult is pulling data out efficiently.” Music, however, helps to unlock that information, including jingle recall. Engage this powerful tool for your business’ benefit; craft a melodic advertisement that attaches to personal memories, that repetitively shares your message, that uses tactics similar to recalling the ABCs – and discover increased success for your marketing melody.
  • Bad jingles still make for good jingles. So your jingle isn’t exactly perfection. Maybe it’s a bit cheesy or bordering on annoying. Even the most ridiculous and irritating jingles discover an audience. New Jersey-based nonprofit Kars4Kids detailed its jingle drama for Contently, noting that Facebook commentary frequently lambasted the advertisement. Repetition of the organization’s phone number became ingrained into minds across the United States during the nationwide promotion. This caused frustration yet also brand recall. The jingle swiftly became iconic in its annoyance, which led to spoofs across primetime television including Saturday Night Live and The Daily Show. According to Kars4Kids, the “jingle has quickly become one of the most memorable and catchy radio ads of all time,” garnering increased attention and donations that helped to make a difference. Even bad jingles have their place and their power as they create waves among listeners.

Jingles are for more than Santa’s sleigh; they are for brands everywhere to employ alongside a desire for awareness and action. Whether acquiring the help of professional marketers or tackling this task yourself, these details can aid your business in its catchy jingle creation.