12/27/15 • Jingle All The Way (Why Jingles Still Rock Your Bottom Line)

As published by The Gaston Gazette:

(12/27/15) BELMONT, N.C. – Since it’s the holiday season, we thought this would be the best time to write about one of our favorite advertising tools, the jingle. To prove the supreme staying power of a good jingle, we give you three words: Oscar Mayer Wiener.

Maybe you haven’t heard that jingle for decades, but we’re willing to bet it popped right back into your head (and now it may not disappear for the rest of the day, with our apologies). Jingles have staying power and when done well, they can invigorate a struggling brand, introduce a new product, or rejuvenate an old one. Consider what Linda Kaplan Thaler did for Toys“R”Us while she was with JWT agency. She wrote the iconic “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up” jingle, which hit the airwaves in 1982. In an interview with Forbes Magazine, she said, “That same week it was on the air, I heard a little 4-year-old singing it in the street and I heard his mother say, ‘If you don’t stop singing that [darn] song we’re never going to make the bus.’ It had whatever it needed to be catchy to kids as well as their parents.” That’s jingle gold.

Make no mistake: Jingles are still relevant today. Here are a few reasons why a good jingle can boost your advertising and marketing results:

  • Product recall. A short, good jingle equals long-term product recall. Why? Researchers have consistently reported that music with a catchy tune and simple words is easy to remember – more so than reading a slogan in a print ad, for example. Put a great jingle in your advertising and it’s almost guaranteed that the consumer will remember the tune, often for years. Consider how you can’t remember what you wrote on the grocery list you left at home, but you know nearly every word to that Steely Dan tune playing overhead in the bakery aisle. It has to do with the way our brains use networks to store and retrieve information combined with the mnemonics (tools and tricks to boost memory) used in jingles, such as rhymes, vocal styles and melodies. Good jingles are timeless – and that’s great for brands.
  • They complement brand identity. A great jingle is sticky (memorable), enduring and deeply connected to your overall brand identity. If your brand was a person, this is the song it would sing and the mood it would inspire. Many jingles include a brand’s print slogan in their lyrics, but not necessarily. As long as consumers positively associate the jingle with your product or service, it’s doing its job of enhancing your brand’s personality and building awareness. With repetition, it becomes an unforgettable extension of your overall branding.
  • Music affects mood. In turn, mood can affect emotions and how a consumer responds to an advertisement. Make someone feel good with your catchy jingle and they’ll associate that feeling with your product or service time and time again. The fact is many consumers buy based on emotion, whether they realize it or not. Advertising has long harnessed the power of music to inspire a desired outcome.
  • They breathe life into a brand. A great jingle can help launch a brand right out of the gate, or it can give a dying brand a dose of chutzpah. When Chili’s wanted to promote a specific item on their menu, they partnered with the band *NSYNC to create their popular “Baby Back Ribs” jingle. We heard it everywhere. Jingles can make a tired brand sing, so to speak. You don’t have to hire a superstar to make it modern, memorable and relevant.
  • They adapt to new outlets. According the Linda Kaplan Thaler, jingles may be more successful today than they were in the past. “Think about it … you can post a jingle on YouTube, set it virally, invite someone to create their own version of the jingle, write their own lyrics … If you have something that is a real hook and that … people like singing and listening to, there are many more outlets where you can place that,” she said. As marketing avenues evolve and change, jingles can find fast popularity in new niches.

Advertising history has proven that jingles absolutely work. The best part of waking up isn’t Starbucks in your cup, it’s Folgers. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there. And we’re all stuck on Band-Aid brand ‘cause Band-Aid’s stuck on us. In a world where consumers are bombarded with the white noise of advertisements from all manner of media, a well-crafted jingle could be the one thing that grabs their attention. But be sure you love your jingle. If you do it right, it could stick around for a long, long time.

Lyerly Agency’s President and CEO Elaine Lyerly and Executive Vice President and COO Melia Lyerly share their 35+ years of marketing, advertising, public relations and brand strategy experience with readers each month in a column published by The Gaston Gazette.