A jingle is the lively, cheery sound of a bell when rung or jostled. Today, it also defines a tune and words used in advertising, podcasts, or other commercial purposes that are used for sound branding. They contain hooks specifically promoting a product or service, usually by including advertising slogans in radio and/or t.v. commercials. Many jingles are based on changing the lyrics of popular songs. They create words and tune associations so strong and unforgettable that we automatically, unconsciously, reach for the product. The more they boost sales, the more we hear them.
At age five, my older son cried when I wouldn’t buy Wonder Bread “that builds strong bodies eight ways!” I explained that I had baked nutritious fresh bread and cinnamon rolls at home, but he worried they might not help him grow as well. (I should have advertised.)
Timeless examples are, “N-e-s-t-l-e-s = Nestles makes the very best, chocolate!” KFC’s “finger lickin’ good”, and Rice Krispies “Snap, crackle, pop”.
In his wonderful story spoof, “Punch, Brothers, Punch”, Mark Twain describes contracting a virus-like jingle that took over his brain for days until he managed to infect someone else with it, removing the jingle from his own mind. If only it were that easy . . .
The longest running jingles is for McCormick Foods’ Aeroplane Jelly. Composed in Australia before 1943, it was used into the 21st century. During the 1940s, it was played more than 100 times a day on some stations. Can anyone say “brainwashing”?
What jingles have you enjoyed the most?
Which have been the hardest to erase from your mind?