With the invention of television, live TV shows competed with live radio shows. Suddenly, consumers could not only hear but they could see what was being advertised. At first, most commercials were presented as part of the actual show. Television show hosts (Jack Parr and Jack Benny, to name a few) as well as their guests, "integrated product plugs into their performances".
One of the first television jingles to appear in the mid-1950s was for Winston cigarettes. "Winston tastes good like a cigarette should" remained popular throughout the 1960s. Jack Benny's show character, Rochester, actually joined the Sportsman Quartet and sang the Lucky Strike jingle. Raymond Scott, who wrote the jingle, realized how important the jingle had become and stated, "to me, they've become as much a part of the American scene as any native art form". Time magazine went one step further and claimed that "the singing commercial has become as entrenched in U.S. culture as the madrigal in the Italian Renaissance".
One of the highlights in jingle history came in October 1956, when Nat King Cole performed the Rheingold beer jingle from New York's Philharmonic Hall. The beer company was a regional brand and chose songs from a public domain because they were free. What is now remembered as the "quintessential German Beer Hall tune" with images of raised beer steins and all singing in unison, was actually the Estudiantina Waltz by written a Frenchman.
It is the section that most people remember when they remember the commercial. However, just because the song was free did not mean that the advertisers "skimped" on production.
As advertising became more competitive and demanding, big-name talents formed their own production companies. Jingle-writing became more professional. There was so much interest in jingle writing that it attracted Broadway composers. Rival composers started their own jingle firms and kept big name talent on their staff.
Advertisers wanted to get the attention of television viewers and what better way than to use musical commercials. "Music gives a product emotional memorability. It also gives an image of a company".
In 1971 when Coca Cola launched the "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing", it was re-recorded, had more verses added, and became a hit on the pop charts. Cover bands tried to re-record songs for commercials, however licensing costs were too high for this to be feasible.
In 1985, Burger King used the original recording of Aretha Franklin's "Freeway of Love" in a commercial. This was followed by Nike using "Revolution" by the Beatles. Songs have been used to illustrate a point about a product (such as Bob Seger's "Like a Rock" for Chevy trucks). They have also been used where the original meaning of the song becomes totally irrelevant or even opposite to what is being advertised (such as Iggy Pop's "Lust for Life" for a cruise ship line). The song is actually about heroin addiction.
Originally, musicians/singers objected to the use of the music in commercials. They viewed it as "selling out". Today, artists actively try to sell their songs for commercials, which has increased the popularity and sales of the music.
There is an eagerness of labels and artists to allow their songs to be licensed for commercial use. One example of this: in 1980 Sting refused to allow the lyrics of "Don't Stand So Close To Me" to be used for a deodorant campaign. In direct response to this use, Neil Young wrote "This Note s for You" in 1988. It was about artists who "sell out" allow their songs to be used in commercials. The song specifically mentions the products Coke, Pepsi, Miller, and Bud. In 2000, Jaguar featured Sting meditating in the back of an S-type to "Desert Rose". That song had been released the previous year, practically unsuccessfully, yet after the ad, it "rocketed up the charts".