We can all hum them, and sometimes we can even remember all the words. However trivial jingles may seem, they are successful at getting us to remember a product, to buy the product and even make us think we NEED the product to be popular or successful. Can a jingle really influence how successful a product is? Effective commercial jingles are an important part of the image of any brand. A successful jingle promotes a positive image, making the consumer more likely to want to purchase the product. Ever since the first jingle was heard in 1926, they have been an important part of any advertising campaign. Jingles are nothing more than short clips of music designed to make the product being advertised more appealing, yet they are a part of our lives.
Jingles are written to be easy to remember. The idea is to be short and repetitive and to pop into one's mind when viewing products. They are designed to remain in your brain for years and they are difficult to forget. When perusing the cold cut section, most people will immediately remember the "My bologna has a first name…" jingle for Oscar Meyer.
Psychologists who have studied the effects of music on the brain have found that 15-30 second pieces of music or jingles, known as earworms, work best at "infiltrating" the mind. The term earworms was made popular by James Kellaris and it means "those melodies that burrow into your head and won't leave".
Truly great jingles are not only remembered, but can also be reinvented decades later. The Big Mac "two all beef patties, special sauce…" that was so popular in the '70's is making a comeback in 2010.
In the words of long time jingle writer Steven Karmen, jingles are"…a short, custom-made melody with original lyrics about a product specifically designed to catch and hold a consumer's attention…its job is to make the commercial stand apart from the program it is placed in".
In a world where children are constantly bombarded by messages about which sneakers will make them cool, the correct fast food to eat and which soft drink is "in", the jingle is often the most memorable part of the commercial. Three little words with four little notes, "I'm lovin' it", immediately bring to mind McDonald's burgers and famous fries.
We live in a world of consumerism. From the time a child can watch television, he or she becomes aware of the catchy commercials. Without understanding why, children immediately know they want a Happy Meal. As they go to school and interact with other children they need to own a pair, or several, of Nikes because LeBron James and Michael Jordan wear them. Will they be able to play basketball like these celebrities if they wear Nikes? No but they are status symbols and they gain status by wearing the sneakers. Status is everything in the world of consumers and catchy jingles often create that status.