Hey you – yep, you – here’s your warning:
Don’t read this blog if you want to keep your sanity.
No, I’m serious.
If you read this blog you’ll be cursed with the most catchy, earworm-worthy commercial jingles of all time.
Trust me, I know – I had to write the damn thing!
But writing this blog, if nothing else, did teach me one thing – if an audio logo works, it really works. For the life of me I can’t get the McDonald’s ‘ba da ba ba baa’ out of my head no matter how hard I try. And what’s more important, I’m starting to really open up to the idea of grabbing some Macca’s on the way home from work…
Audio is just one part of what can make a brand distinctive. Distinctive assets can be anything from logos to colours to characters to slogans – all that matters is that the asset is memorable and unique to your brand. But there’s something about a jingle that when done correctly can become one of your strongest branding assets.
For example, you think of Toyota and yes, the first thing that probably springs to mind is the logo, or perhaps you envision happy customers jumping in slow motion at the end of an ad! But with Toyota there’s something else as well. A catchphrase that sticks in your head, leaving you humming “oh what a feeling, Toyota!” to yourself long after the ad’s ended. Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t think about the Toyota logo after the commercials are finished!
On the other hand, I mention Coca-Cola and your mind immediately starts to put together a range of images and sounds that are associated with the brand – namely the colour red, that classic typeface, maybe even the unmistakable sound of a fizzy bottle being poured. But it can be hard to think of a tune to hum or a song to sing that brings the world’s most popular soft drink to mind. Coca-Cola’s certainly had songs in its commercials before, but they change with every campaign and so don’t get enough of a chance to solidify in the minds of everyday people.
And the difference between these two multinational companies is where the power of jingles comes into play in advertising. Despite the audience’s best intentions, a jingle like what Toyota and McDonald’s have created can get stuck in their heads and help make the brand more memorable.
Make no mistake, jingles can still have their drawbacks – tunes that are too irritating and too frequent will just lead to your target market black-listing your brand, while other jingles might not fit with the subject matter of what the business is selling (hint: if your business specialises in funeral services, a happy-go-lucky jingle probably isn’t going to be your smartest PR move).
But regardless, jingles should not be cast aside as childish gimmicks by brands. Their potential influence across mediums is simply too strong. A jingle performs just as well in TV advertising as it does in radio and on social media, and it isn’t suited to those mediums that are looking like going the way of the printing press (that would be newspapers and direct mail).
So next time you’re sitting down for a branding review for your business – no matter the size of the company, give the creation of a jingle some serious thought.
Now, about that McDonald’s…
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Patrick Black is a marketer with a passion for learning how businesses can improve their advertising through science-backed principles. He enjoys writing about marketing much more than he likes to write about himself.