Cover image of famous ad jingles commercials
Brand InsightsMay 20, 2022

The Sound Of A Brand: A Retrospective On Jingles

May 20, 2022
Ashley Lightfoot Photo
Ashley Lightfoot
Content Marketing Manager

We can all name a famous ad jingle — whether it's McDonald's short and simple "I'm lovin' it" or a golden oldie from our childhood — I'm looking at you Toys "R" Us!.

They represent an important point in the history of brands and of course they're still relevant today — even if they're not as common. Plus, the can be a strong driver of feel-good marketing, helping brands build a strong emotional connection with consumers.

In the below infographic, we explore the history of jingles, why they went out of fashion and how brands still use sound to connect with consumers.

The story of why jingles went out of fashion demonstrates that no matter how effective a single channel is, it won’t last forever..!

Indeed, there are so many stories of rises and falls as technology changes consumer behavior and brands have to switch focus or risk shouting into the void. For example, it used to be that brands would clamor to feature during TV ad breaks, but the rise of on-demand TV has triggered a new focus on product placement instead. In a few years' time, we may look back at TikToks and Instagram posts in the same way we do those cheesy jingles from the 80s.

But some brands still do have jingles — McDonald’s is one of the most well-known — so it begs the question, is there still a case to use them today?

Well, there’s a good reason brands have abandoned the style of jingle that was so popular from the 50s through to the 80s — nowadays they feel outdated and out of place, they require real talent to pull off effectively and are probably not cost-effective when compared against licensed music.

However, rather than simply disappear, they’ve actually evolved into a shorter, much more subtle form and continue to play a small but essential role in how companies shape their brand identity.

This much shorter, more minimalistic successor is one that many leading brands still invest in to create a kind of audio signature at the end of their ads.

This applies to McDonald’s famous and fleeting jingle but also to a host of other brands such as Audi whose ads end with a distinctive percussive heartbeat, Playstation’s distorted voice over as the brand’s symbols illuminate with a click, and the two-note trill of Colombian delivery start-up Rappi that plays at the start and end of their ads.

With these much shorter jingles, brands are still able to rely on the appeal and popularity of licensed music, while stamping their own aural identity onto the ends of commercials. It’s certainly not as memorable as a fully-fledged original song, though its subtlety may be one of its key benefits.

Indeed, many of these short audio signatures aren’t going to be remembered by consumers, but they allow one last moment to repeat the emotional tone of the ad creative while the brand logo is onscreen.

They represent a growing movement of brands that are still prioritizing sound and how it plays into their identity, but with a focus on the subtle ways that it can be deployed to help build those vital emotional connections.

From the sound that a Mac makes as it starts up to the furor created by SunChip’s noisy eco-friendly bags, sounds play a vital part in the way that consumers experience brands. It’s an important factor that many brands invest a lot of time and effort in, even if most consumers never really consciously notice it.

Ultimately brands now have more choice than ever when it comes to creating a sonic identity for their brand. They can piggyback on the cultural relevance of pop music, create their own aural signature at the end of commercials, incorporate sound into their products and even resurrect traditional jingles to tap into the current trend for nostalgia marketing.

Figuring out which works best for your brand is a matter of understanding your audience and knowing what resonates best with them. For this task, brand tracking software can give you the insights you need to learn how to effectively speak and engage with your target audience.

Brand Insights

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