Judicious Jingles: How A Snappy Song Can Differentiate Your Brand

by: Shannon Givens , May 14, 2019

If you’ve ever had a commercial jingle stuck in your head — say, the themes from Nationwide, Old Spice or Kit Kat — you probably understand their effectiveness.

In fact, a recent Nielsen study found commercials that include music perform better across the key metrics of creativity, empathy, emotive power and information power than non-musical ads. Though the popularity of marketing jingles has come and gone through the years — and skeptics say they’re too difficult to make memorable in today’s omnichannel, message-bombarding world — many vendors have found them effective tools for keeping their product top of mind.

An example cited by Nielsen is a 2014 Hewlett-Packard commercial capitalizing on the Meghan Trainor song “Lips Are Movin’” to sell tablets; while it aired, HP saw a 26 percent boost in sales volume compared to the 6.5 percent increase realized over the same time period the previous year.

“Music is powerful — it can make us smile or cry, bring memories rushing back and even inspire us to buy a product when it’s combined with the right advertisement,” write the study’s authors. “Connecting on an emotional level can directly lead to a purchase, so the best ads are the ones that have both information and emotive power.”

How do jingles work? Neurologists say music with a strong emotional connection stays in our memories longer, perhaps due to mechanisms in our inner ears and brain that repeat sounds to remember them — a function crucial to early-childhood vocabulary. Interestingly, they say, such earworms are most common among musicians and women.

Considering incorporating a jingle into your ad campaign? Think about how the following guidelines may help.

  • Strategize how a musical association could reinforce and enhance your brand image.
  • Think about the emotional response you’re seeking, whether that’s joy, nostalgia, comfort, familiarity, excitement or laughter.
  • Consider how you might reinforce the meaning of your existing slogan (or a new slogan) by using it in your lyrics, a la McDonald’s’ “I’m Lovin’ It” or State Farm’s “Like a Good Neighbor.”
  • Might you leverage a tune to help customers remember your vanity phone number? That works especially well for radio ads that target audiences not likely to call you in real time; it’s clearly been effective for Kars4Kids, The General insurance and flooring firm Empire.
  • Make your jingle simple, very easy to remember and somewhat repetitious — but not so repetitious it’s likely to become annoying over time. “An effective advertising jingle is not technically written, understandable only by the highly educated, nor should a jingle be an ambiguous work of poetry,” advises a recent article by ImageWorks LLC. “Ideally, the ‘lyrics’ to your jingle will be only a few words, and no more than a sentence. If your jingle can be recited and understood by a child, you’re on the right track.”
  • Seek ways of using your jingle to better engage with audiences. For example, might you stage contests asking consumers to write additional verses or send videos of themselves performing the ditty?
  • Keep in mind earworms can take awhile to be effective; consistent recall may take long-term repetition. The real value may kick in when consumers think of them months or years later.

Don’t discount the idea of creating a jingle to help further your brand. It may be just the kick your campaign needs to help customers differentiate you from the competition.

Talk to Custom Toll Free for help in establishing a unique and highly memorable vanity phone number to optimize through all musical and non-musical elements of your ad campaign.


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