My Commercial has a First Name…



Quick – sing with me the most popular commercial jingle right now. Bet you can’t. Not an original song for a commercial, anyway.

They’ve gone the way of whole milk and landlines – one of those things that seems a bit out of place in today’s world of limited attention spans and even more limited available time to give. But if you really think about it, the jingle was probably the most impactful – and long-lasting – component to nearly any commercial you remember.

Why? Because they take you to a place that is of your own making. Those songs would get inside your head (that’s what they’re designed to do), and you’d carry them with you mentally, in theory, at least until you reached the Point of Purchase. But most linger on well past that. Often for decades. Because jingles reach your emotional center, not just your intellectual one. In fact, they’re a very powerful branding tool that most advertisers have given up in lieu of “story space” in a commercial. The message is the medium, as it were.

The only thing is that information doesn’t lock in a message like an earworm.

If you hear a song in a commercial these days, it’s much more likely to be a licensed song from a particular target demographic’s touchpoint playlist that will pre-evoke emotion in the hopes that it will have a crossover effect to brand association.

The reality of television today is that advertisers do have to be cognizant of maximizing their ability to get a consumer’s attention while still doing their level best to tell “their story” creatively. The myriad of consumer distractions (fast-forwarding, second-screening, etc.) demand that ads sparkle a little brighter and ring just a little more familiarly. Using potent visuals to catch a consumer’s eye during fast forwarding can grab their attention and make them go back to watch. A catchy jingle would have the same impact for those people who don’t fast forward, but who “device shift” during a commercial pod.

While the majority of viewers watch TV live, there are a few who use commercials as a timing device while they’re doing other things. They’ll listen to the audio, monitoring the broadcast until the commercials are over, then go back to watching the program. For people who might not give the commercial their full attention, the jingle is the most likely message that they’ll pick up on. And it’s going to be the stickiest.

Let’s test it by mentioning a few brands.

Kit Kat.


Oscar Mayer.

And there are some that don’t even need the brand to be recognized: “You deserve a break today…” and “I’d like to teach the world to sing…”.

Now, where did you go? Did you picture packaging, visuals, or value proposition? Give me a break!

You know you want those baby back ribs now.

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