The Art of a Great Jingle

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Television and radio commercials have been around for decades, so pitching products and competing for airtime is nothing new, but while change is inevitable as we grow, so is the way products are marketed, using cartoon characters, cute kids and cheerful music, it’s those who knew ‘how’ to capture our attention with a catchy line or song; so what happened to the ones that catch our attention, sometimes making us smile.  I’ve often wondered about those who write the jingles for television and radio ads; are they straight out of college, and if so … what made them choose that career?  In a recent article I read about how musicians and singers strive to become a successful brand in song writing (music industry), but often choose an alternative career in writing jingles; usually in the event things don’t work out the way they expected. The artists’ ability to inspire groups of people, of all ages, is a ‘must-have’ asset, along with creativeness and tenacity. There are jingle writers everywhere; however, I haven’t heard a good jingle in a while. Advertising agencies search for those who have a knack for rhyming… as it must be catchy, short and concise, leaving one feeling almost annoyed because they can’t seem to get it out of their head; a great example being… the famous Oscar Mayer Weiner song from 1963. It was the best jingle ever written, not to mention, the longest running in American history; though it never left me feeling annoyed, just a bit hungry for more while I sang along.

Writing a good jingle will leave the consumer curious enough to try your brand, while reciting the catchy words from the advertisement. It’s all in the ‘art’ of the jingle, so if it leaves you humming for days, even weeks later then it’s been successful. It needs to have tremendous sticking power. Companies also like to market their brands with a slogan and choose a hit song to go along, but doesn’t always work to their advantage. Hearing ‘hit music’ whether past or present can leave one singing along without paying attention to the advertised product. A good jingle with a catchy slogan line will usually find success. The slogan line can be as simple as the Rice Krispies cereal, “Snap, Crackle, and Pop.” This is one of the best slogan lines that will long be remembered; like jingles… they are memorable, effective, and pleasing to the ear.

Current television commercials are more than annoying today, and from what I’ve read… companies don’t hire jingle writers like they use to; another sign of the times I guess; though large companies, such as Coke will call an agency to do their campaign work. Remember the old Coke a Cola jingle? “I’d like to buy the world a coke…” Talk about constantly singing it, we were taught the song in music class (grade school) and sang it in our spring program; another example of greatness. Music has a lot of influence, and while those classic jingles will always be treasured, I must admit… one of the best Super Bowl commercials was in 2011, by Volkswagen. It was a boy in a Darth Vader costume and used the ever-popular theme music from Star Wars, with no exchange of words; extremely powerful and clever. Most of us never forget a song if we relate it to a time during our life or an event; music is simply powerful.  It’s amazing what we remember when it comes to advertisements, and if you think about the ones I’ve mentioned here, I’m sure you’d agree when I say that these successful ads had ‘heart’…and made us feel good; I haven’t a clue where all the good jingles are today, but we are certainly due and America is waiting for its new successor.

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