The Joys of the Jingle: Creating Catchy Brand Tunes
Every marketer has dreams of their brand jingle getting stuck in consumers’ heads. Some jingles are a clever call-to-action, designed to help people remember a phone number or website – like the infamous 1-877-Kars4Kids song. Others incorporate rhyming so a phrase becomes synonymous with the brand. Some jingles leave out the rhyming altogether and instead opt for a catchy arrangement and lyrics. Whichever method a brand uses, there’s no denying the power of jingles.
Why Jingles Work
Jingles can be effective when they are:
- Used consistently
As Orlando Wood notes in his book Lemon, people often like what they can process quickly. Consistent use of the same brand asset allows viewers, or listeners in the case of audio advertising, to easily recognize who the ad is for. And we know that recognition speeds decision making, making continued use of jingles a smart move for brands.
It will be difficult for consumers to remember jingles that are long and complex. Instead, consider leveraging rhyming to make the song catchy and remember to keep it fairly brief. Alliteration or the use of puns can also be helpful. And don’t overlook the benefits of repetition of key words or phrases.
- Aligned with the brand’s identity
A custom jingle can help reinforce a brand’s identity and communicate to the public what the brand stands for. Think about the lyrics carefully. Which words or phrases will make people feel happy? Consider your mission, vision and values and then weave in language that clearly aligns with the brand identity.
Differentiation is key. To avoid confusion, make sure that your asset doesn’t sound like another jingle, especially one from a competitor. So, how do you make a jingle unique to you? Some organizations incorporate their brand name to make it as clear as possible and enhance brand recognition. You can also lean into distinctive sound effects that tie into your identity.
Jingles to Inspire Marketers
Over the years, there have been many long-running brand jingles, including:
- “I’m Lovin’ It” – McDonald’s
It’s impossible to write about jingles without highlighting the clever way the restaurant chain got global buy-in for its song. The slogan came first, with production company Mona Davis suggesting five notes to be paired with the strapline: ba-da-ba-ba-ba. Then, Justin Timberlake and Pusha T collaborated on the “I’m Lovin’ It” track, which leverages these same notes but purposely doesn’t mention McDonalds. Once the song had topped the charts, the brand made its partnership public.
- “Do the Shake n’ Vac, Put the Freshness Back” – Glade
Need a clever way to teach people how to use your product? Just follow in Glade’s footsteps. As the brand’s jingle for “Shake n’ Vac” carpet freshener notes, it’s important to “remember what to do” when you vacuum. Jenny Logan starred in the original ad, dancing along to the song as she hoovers. And she made a return for the 30th anniversary of the commercial in 2010, while Glade also encouraged people to submit videos of themselves recreating the dance.
- “Like a Good Neighbor, State Farm is There” – State Farm Insurance
Insurance providers aren’t strangers to jingles. Nationwide has been using its rhyming “Nationwide is on your side” for years, and State Farm launched “Like a Good Neighbor, State Farm is There” in 1971. Both jingles evoke a sense of security and togetherness, a smart move considering their dedication to protecting insurers’ homes, cars and other prized possessions.
- “Over There”-inspired opera tune – GoCompare
The UK insurance industry also leans into jingles, with price comparison website GoCompare leveraging an opera-inspired song. In addition to using a recurring jingle, the brand also puts their recurring character, Gio Compario, front and center. With his curly mustache and large-than-life personality, he’s a one-of-a-kind Fluent Device who is the perfect fit to sing the song. The brand even ran a series of ads featuring celebrities determined to destroy him, which then opened the door for a comeback commercial. It’s safe to say you can’t keep this tenor silent.
- “The Best Part of Wakin’ Up Is Folgers in Your Cup” – Folgers Coffee
Folgers’ famous jingle has been featured in the brand’s ads for decades. Debuting in the 1980s, the slogan and accompanying song have since undergone numerous iterations and genres, with performances by Aretha Franklin and country music star Randy Travis. While the brand launched a new campaign in 2022 that turned up the volume with a Joan Jett song, a melodic version of the jingle can still be heard as the main character walks down a grocery store’s coffee aisle.
It can be difficult for marketers to know how a jingle will land without insights from audiences. Thankfully, there are ways to capture real consumer feedback on your brand’s new or revamped jingle. System1’s Test Your Idea platform enables brands to test multiple iterations, whether they feature different lyrics, singers or even musical styles. Our platform predicts the profit potential of each jingle to guide your decision making.
Looking to see how your latest ad featuring your brand’s jingle performs? Our Test Your Ad platform asks viewers how ads make them feel to understand the long-term brand-building potential of commercials.