♪“Jingle ads, jingle ads, jingle ads rock!” ♪ Cheesy as some may be, jingles bring back the nostalgia of a simpler time. Remember the good old Pepsi ad, made from a re-lyric of Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean? Or its competitor Coca Cola, with the hilltop jingle that made it to number five on the Billboard charts in the 1970s?
Such doggerels are effective marketing tools that promote effective brand recall. And since global conglomerates have used them through the decades, following in their footsteps of success can prove a viable and successful brand strategy. Here, we discuss everything you need to know about jingles and help you deliberate if the investment is indeed worth your while.
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This post was updated in May 2021
What is a Jingle?
In short, brand jingles are advertisements set in a song. They can be aired as a visual or audio commercial. Channels they can be distributed through include television, pre-movie ads, radio, and digital music streaming services. Since the song in itself can be informative enough without the aid of a visual, they make perfect audio ads. Audio jingles are what we will be focusing on in this article.
The limits of audio jingles know no bounds. You can include almost any information in the content, so long as you make it catchy. Used to promote product benefits or increase brand awareness among consumers, here are some jingle ideas on what you can include:
- Phone numbers
- Web URLs
- Brand values
- Product USPs (Unique Selling Points)
The Trend of Jingles
Did you know that the first jingle dates back to 1905? The number of jingles in America has since dropped from 153 to just 8 original jingles within a span of 13 years, and here’s why.
From jingles to singles, marketing trends have evolved from recording original ad tunes, to using popular music as a background for ads today. With chart-toppers already in the hearts and minds of consumers, modern-day marketers have found it an easier and faster way to create impressions. That without the hassle of rhyming scripts and composing tunes. Thus came the end of the jingle era that we were ever so fond of.
Jingles as a Marketing Tool Today
The scarcity of traditional jingles in the industry is merely a trend. It doesn’t at all discredit the immense efficacy of its impact on marketing. Even with the rapid decline of its popularity, consumers are still highly receptive to ones like Mac Donald’s “I’m loving’ it!” today. Jingles are hence still a powerful contender in creating an authentic brand impression for consumers.
Longer Lasting Memory
The relationship between music and memory is powerful. If you’re a fan of “Friends”, you’ll have Phoebe’s notorious “Smelly Cat” jingle in your head. Distasteful or well-loved, jingles if done right can stick around in the mind for a long time. And here’s the legit science behind that.
Music is strongly related to emotions which activates the limbic system, a system that controls memories and processes emotions. As such, its sound patterns, rhythm, and melody create an echoic memory. Defined as retention of information specific to sound stimuli, echoic memory is typically stored longer compared to visual memories. The next time you find yourself craving a burger while humming a tune that’s been bouncing around in your head, you’ll know why!
Easy to Recall
A mnemonic tool for millennials, music has become an integral part of today’s commercials. The effectiveness of auditory senses on memory has been positive so much so that schools are using them in teaching. Ulm University researchers published a study related to memory fostering through music. They found that by teaching facts as lyrics to a familiar tune, students could demonstrate a better comprehension of the subject. As the learning method bypasses the visual sensory, Information uptake is faster and understanding becomes easier!
Now let’s look at its effectiveness in the scope of marketing. A study was done on 102 participants on the impact of songs and jingles in advertising. The research showed that 89% of respondents consider jingles to be effective in brand and product awareness. Of that, 63% claimed that its effectiveness was attributed to creating a memory of the brand.
“I’d like to buy the world a Coke, and keep it company!” When we apply the same theories above to marketing strategy, we now understand why Coca-Cola’s insanely catchy ad is still fondly remembered worldwide today!
As jingle campaigns tend to last for quite a while, and repetition constructs a deeper memory of the ad in the consumer’s mind. Especially with audio channels, the audience absorbs everything. When watching the telly, we often take commercial time to grab a bag of chips or take a toilet break. But when you are listening to the radio or a music streaming platform, chances are you’re having it in the back while doing something else. The effort of having to switch channels just to avoid a 30-second ad seems silly. That’s because we all know no matter how annoying the ad might be, it’ll be over in a just jiffy.
This makes short and sweet audio jingles notably suitable for streaming platforms such as Spotify. With approximately 124 million non-premium users on Spotify, the platform has also recently started banning any of them who utilize any ad-blockers. With music streaming platforms being all the rage today, a catchy jingle aired would most definitely increase your brand awareness or ROI.
As much as jingles might be considered outdated, but it can be a doorway to sentimental notions. The familiar fashion of cheery tunes and catchy rhymes can remind your consumers of the good old days. Jingles inspire the fondness and wistful affection of an unreachable past. And, studies have shown that commercials evoking emotions do twice as well as those without.
Such ads, therefore, cut through the noise by building an emotional bond between consumers and your brand. When consumers feel more, they are more open to your brand message and might be more likely to take some action.
Hits are a Hoot
“Catchy” is the ultimate emphatic word in the creation of all successful brand jingles. Jingles are successful because they are snappy, addictive and singable. Only the whimsical Mary Poppins can pull off words like “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” into a song, and still, make it sound fun and catchy! Still a relevant marketing strategy today, jingles can become part of a trending mention among consumers. Already sucked in? Read on to find out how to create one!
How to Make a Jingle
Now that we’ve got your attention, let’s talk blueprints! As much as jingles can be memorable, you don’t want yours to come off as annoying. Here are some tips and basic steps on how to create your own:
Step 1: Write a Script
Creating a jingle is almost like writing a song. You need words and a melody. Not everyone is born a gifted composer like Lady Gaga, so let’s start with words. It’s advisable to first list down information in points on what you wish to convey to your audience. Your content can include some items on the list found above under the “What is a Jingle” section. Then comes the art of poetry. Here are some quick tips to help you with that:
A good trick for a catchy jingle would be to include words that are simple to rhyme and easy to sing. Repeat some important words and phrases to make them memorable. Use short and easily enunciated words. This means avoiding words like pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanokoniosis (apparently the longest word in the English dictionary)! Also always remember to include your brand’s name in the jingle as means of an effective recall. It’s important especially if you are still trying to establish a new brand.
Like all marketing strategy requires, know your audience! If you are aiming to create a radio jingle, your language should be inclusive of a wider demographic. If, however, you are planning to go with music streaming channels, look for trending words that might resonate with millennials. Avoid using outdated words like baloney, groovy and fiddlesticks! 72% of Spotify’s freemium account is owned by millennials, and they’re not going to understand you.
Life isn’t all that serious. Try to inject a little fun and humor into your script. Make your script simple, cheery and light instead of rational, monotonous and boring.
Try not to include words of more than three syllables in order to keep lines short and neat. If you’re struggling to find the right rhyming words, there are websites that might. Here’s one example. Check the flow of your script by reading it out loud several times, cutting short some points if there is too much information. The general idea is to fit your script into about 20 seconds of singing.
All this may sound over-the-top daunting but it’s a good chance to exhibit some originality to reach your target segment. If you need to outsource writing a script, it can be affordable and easily done. Just ensure you provide the writer all the specific content you need and the style in which it should be written.
Step 2: Creating a Melody
Time to embrace your inner composer! If you have some flair in music, you can curate an original tune. Otherwise, many brands find it simpler to use existing popular tunes and filling out the words with new lyrics. If you do choose to go with that, do make sure you obtain legal rights.
Choosing a Tempo
Whether you are writing the notes or using an existing tune, make sure you choose a melody with an appropriate tempo. Ballad styles are slower and can be less catchy. Techno, on the other hand, is too distracting and fast, making it almost impossible to clearly enunciate any audible lyrics. Select music that sets an acceptable pace for your script. Rewrite or amend parts of your script to adapt to the tune if needed.
Appealing to Your Audience
Pick the right genre that appeals to your audience. Find out what music is popular today if you are targeting millennials. Or listen to some older tracks for inspiration should you be targeting the Baby Boomers or Gen X crowd. For example, your jingle could be made with, say, a punk rock or grunge vibe for consumers within the 39 to 54 age range.
The Right Length
We recommend a length of 30 seconds for a complete jingle. This is also the typical length of an ad package offered by most radio and music streaming platforms. 30 seconds should include your lyrics, and the opening and closing music. Hence the 20-second allotment for your script above. If you are, however, only aiming to air a slogan or catchphrase, 15 seconds would probably be well enough.
Step 3: Production
Recording your entire jingle from scratch in-house can be quite an investment. You require the right equipment in addition to a functioning recording studio.
If you don’t have the right voice for your jingle, you can look into hiring a voice actor.
While all of these can be arranged for, it takes someone with technical knowledge to direct your jingle to perfection. He or she should be able to maneuver an instrumental bed, create a top and tail soundtrack and be able to make vocal edits amongst other things. Fret not if you’re overwhelmed! Here come some user-friendly tools to the rescue.
Online Audio Ad-Makers
If you are planning to advertise your campaign through channels such as Spotify, things might get a lot easier. You will be glad to know that Spotify has its own ad-creating studio that is free and easily accessible. The self-serve functions allow you to record your ad with readily available melodies on the platform and pick the demographics of the audience you wish to target. The tool aims to make audio ads more affordable for SMEs. Using Spotify Ad Studio takes a load off your cost and logistics, making having to loan all recording equipment obsolete.
If you find the entire jingle affair simply too much of a hassle, there are alternatives.
The perks to this are bountiful. Most importantly, you can rest assured knowing that the jingle will be professionally done according to your detailed requirements. This also means crystal clear acoustics and a great voice. Your jingle gets delivered to you ready for broadcasting and within a short time-frame. Such is a great solution in place of having to outsource bits of your jingle project which might result in a convoluted mix of mismatched styles.
…. And start! Bring back the effective retro magic of jingles. You’ll know the investment is worth it when you start hearing people singing your tune. So go forth and incept your consumer’s mind today!