Thirty years ago, almost every national advertiser had a jingle (short catchy song) to associate with their business. TV ads these days very rarely have jingles. In radio, we still use jingles her and there, but overall, there’s far fewer jingles in small business radio advertising. Should you have a jingle? Not necessarily… but there are some powerful reasons to at least consider having a jingle written for your small business radio advertising.

Of course, music helps sell things all year round. It’s the best mnemonic device there is, though the most potent of all sales ditties – the jingle – has been in decline for decades.

It’s still active in radio, but TV largely long ago gave up on the kind of jingle that directly hypes the product in its lyrics. And yet many people can instantly recall the tune behind such venerable catch-phrases as “things go better with Coke,” “you deserve a break today,” or “double your pleasure, double your fun.”

What happened to the jingle? How did such a successful tool, whose mnemonic punch has been confirmed by the latest brain research, end up in the trash?

“If you write a jingle now, it’s mostly meant to be ironic,” says Chris Tait, a composer and partner at Pirate Toronto, which provides music and “sound design” for advertising. “Nobody buys that naive, innocent style any more” – the style of classic jingles for Rice Krispies or Green Giant.

That style worked through the postwar economic boom to the mid-sixties, when advertisers began to shift away from the direct pitch, and toward ads that offered membership in a desirable consuming community.

“Instead of extolling the virtues of the product, the idea was to celebrate the lifestyle of the consumers of the product,” Roger Enrico, the former PepsiCo CEO, told The New York Times. That goal led to the Pepsi Generation campaign, spearheaded in 1963 by PepsiCo ad maven Alan Pottasch. The ads spun from that thesis idealized the young, attractive, fun-loving people who were supposedly the soft-drink’s natural clientele. But the campaign’s defining music was a jingle – a 1969 soft-rock song that claimed “It’s the Pepsi Generation, comin’ at you, goin’ strong… you’ve got a lot to live, and Pepsi’s got a lot to give.” Pepsi got Three Dog Night to record it, at a time when that band was charting hit after hit.

Pepsi hung onto its jingles, getting Michael Jackson, Faith Hill and Britney Spears to record versions of its 1999 Joy of Cola song. But many companies dropped the product-specific ditties in favour of shrewdly chosen radio hits, or music that sounded like them.

“The advantage is that people know the song, so they already have a good feeling about it,” says Judy John, CEO and chief creative officer at the Canadian arm of Leo Burnett, maker of ads for Bell’s Fibe TV. Leo Burnett created the Jolly Green Giant and still keeps his “ho-ho-ho” alive in Green Giant commercials. But now it’s a tag at the end of the spot, not the climax of a jingle chorus.

“The jingle hasn’t gone away, it’s just been condensed,” says Andrew Simon, chief creative officer of Toronto’s Blammo Worldwide, the agency behind a batch of recent Fallsview Casino ads. “The mnemonic intent is still there, even if it’s just in a little clip” – like McDonald’s “I’m lovin’ it,” or the “moo” and cowbell in those five-second milk ads.

Beware… there’s more to getting a great jingle for your business than you might assume from reading the great article above.

There are some strong reasons why some some small business radio advertising should have a jingle … and why some should NOT!

Give us a call here at Berk Marketing Radio & TV – we can walk you through the pros and cons of jingles in terms of radio advertising.

But before you give us a call … or click over to another article here,  listen in your mind for a moment, and see if you hear the tune of

Ho Ho Ho – Green Giant

I’m betting you heard the jingle…

For expertise on radio advertising throughout America, contact Berk Marketing Radio & TV at 866-747-4707.