A jingle, or short song or tune, is used in advertising and for other commercial purposes as a form of audio branding. Most jingles have at least one ‘hook’ explicitly promoting the service or product in question; usually via a catchy slogan explaining clearly what a business does in very few words.
Jingles are an art form in themselves, and while of course the pattern of media consumption has changed considerably over time, they remain highly effective marketing and advertising tools. They build brand awareness, recognition and recall while boosting sales. They’re attention-grabbing, can be used across varied media outlets, including online, traditional and social media channels, and are a cost-effective way of standing out from the competition.
So no wonder myriad different brands of all sizes have made use of jingles over the decades.
What Makes a Good Jingle?
Good jingles are written to be as easy to recall as nursery rhymes, and ideally they’re short and repetitive and it’s not a bad idea to try and incorporate plenty of rhyming. It all however has to start with an excellent music theme for your sung jingle. Alliteration, active verbs and puns also all do well.
It’s worth listening to a few different jingles to think about what they sound like – and remember your jingle should also fit your brand’s personality. You could also test yours through market research including focus groups and surveys.
A great jingle, once it’s made its way into your consciousness, tends to stay there. Above all, it’s that power of recall that makes it catchy.
Here is our own sung jingle (over a decade old!):
What Are The Most Famous Jingles?
According to the Smithsonian, the first jingle to be broadcast made its debut getting on for a century ago, during Christmas 1926 in the US, and it (literally) sang the praises of Wheaties cereal.
This summer, the US promotional goods brand Quality Logo Products asked more than 700 Americans to listen to dozens of advertising melodies – before attending a week-long silent retreat.
Quality Logo Products reports that Chili’s ‘baby back ribs’ ditty won the accolade of catchiest jingle.
Following in second and third place were Folgers’ rhyme and the über-simple Ricola (cough drops). Both simply repeated the brand’s name.
Interestingly, insurance firm Liberty Mutual’s repetitive ditty (uttering the brand name four times) was branded one of the most annoying – and catchiest – jingles, proving that something doesn’t have to be loved to stick in the mind. (‘Go Compaaarrreee…’ tenor Gio Di Compario has been labelled as one of the most irritating people in the UK.) You can read more about Quality Logo Product’s experiment here.
Big Commercials We All Know
The magazine Forbes compiled a list of Top 10 advertising jingles of the century. Huge brands including McDonald’s and Coca Cola (‘I’d like to buy the world a Coke’) topped the list.
McDonald’s, Coca Cola and Folgers also feature in a similar compilation by marketing website The Drum. As does food brand Oscar Mayer, which also appears in the Quality Logo Products line-up.
What’s your catchiest-ever jingle, the ‘earworm’ that goes round and round in your head?