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The Advertising Jingle Posted by on Jul 11, 2019 in American history, Culture, English Grammar

You’ve heard them. They are the combination of a catchy tune and advertising copy. Most of them last only a few seconds. Which is, ideally, all the time you need to absorb the message and get that song stuck in your head. Today, we might call it an earworm. But, for many years it was called a jingle. And, amazingly, many of them are so memorable that for generations we have sung them and quoted them and even used them to teach English.

Image courtesy of Pixabay, CCO

Yes, they are old-fashioned. The best jingles consist of only a handful of notes in a major scale constantly repeating, maybe with some slight alteration, while a singer matches it with a simplistic rhyme. The visuals are cute and happy. Today you have dramatic images and rapid editing, combined with a rock beat. Or, increasingly, classic rock songs are being repurposed to appeal to certain generations of buyers. Believe me, though, nothing can compete with the staying power of a good jingle. Here are 10 classics, and why they are important.

Learn to spell both the product and the company’s name. Oscar Mayer may have perfected the jingle when they introduced this commercial in 1973. The processed meat company got a little boy to sing out the spelling of their name, and their best-selling lunchmeat, with an infectious tune. It’s advertising at its adorable best.

6 notes and three words. McDonald’s permanently planted a 4-second song into the world’s consciousness in 2004. Written by rapper Pusha T, it later was adapted into a longer song by Justin Timberlake.

Memorize a product’s ingredients. McDonald’s taught us all to remember what’s in a Big Mac in 1975 with a very brief jingle which has been revised many times over the decades.

Get to know what a homograph is with a Kit Kat bar. A homograph is a word with one spelling but at least two meanings. In this case, the word is break. It can mean to separate into pieces, or a pause in some activity.

Make your brand name synonymous with the product. Folgers is a brand of instant coffee. Thanks to this jingle, everyone knows that.

Onomatopoeia in advertising. Alka Seltzer is a cold and flu medicine which comes in packets of tablets that dissolve when placed in water. Now you know what it sounds like.

Alliteration sells. Kay Jewelers reminds us in this jingle that their company name begins with the same letter as kiss.

A common sound becomes a jingle. San Francisco is the home of famous cable cars in the streets and a pasta company in the city’s Mission District. Cable car operators signal a stop with a bell. That ringing sound is the distinctive touch to a jingle about a boxed rice product.

Make them believe a lie. Cigarettes were once advertised on television – a lot. This ad for Winston Cigarettes became one of history’s most notorious when the truth about the nature of cigarettes was revealed to the public.

When an ad becomes a hit song. Coke has had many memorable jingles, but only one can claim to have been an international hit recording. And, believe me, this song was tremendously popular. When the television series Mad Men ended, the show’s producers wanted you to believe that lead character Don Draper came out of retirement to create this unforgettable advertisement.

Is there a jingle that you can’t forget?

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