I grew up in the 1970s, when the TV and radio airwaves were chock-a-block full of ad jingles. Back then practically any kid could, upon command, sing you a song about any number of things, from Folger’s Coffee and Band-Aids to Dr Pepper and Almond Joy. I’ll bet most of us learned how to spell “bologna” from the Oscar Meyer jingle:

My bologna has a first name,
It’s O-S-C-A-R.
My bologna has a second name,
It’s M-A-Y-E-R.
Oh, I love to eat it every day,
And if you ask me why, I’ll say,
’Cause Oscar Mayer has a way with B-O-L-O-G-N-A!

While the heyday of jingles may be long past, many advertisers still employ them for one simple reason: they work! One of Appleyard’s clients, Air Design, a local HVAC and plumbing service provider, uses a wonderfully effective jingle in their advertising:

Call 202-COOL night or day,
Air Design Systems is on the way!

But what makes a jingle effective? Most good advertising jingles have several things in common:

• Message
Great jingles are kind of like the meet-cute in a movie. They’re a clever way to introduce a brand or maybe tell you a story to help you get to know a company or its product. The message should be simple but compelling, the kind of first impression you dream about.

• Musical
Great jingles are like hit singles on the pop music chart. They’re catchy tunes that get inside your head. You know…it comes on, and you find yourself humming along, even if you don’t particularly like the song. Or it just pops into your head at the oddest times. When I’m feeling tired or stressed out, the Maxwell House “Percolator Song” drops in for a visit, presumably to perk me up. (Pun most definitely intended.)

• Memorable
Now that you’ve got the melody down, you need great lyrics. Effective jingles use repetition and rhymes to aid recall. They also use the KISS principle (Keep it simple, stupid). In other words, you want something a child can understand and remember. Once a jingle is memorized, it’s not going anywhere. I can still recall jingles I’ve not heard in 40 years.


So there you have it: the three M’s of jingle magic.

Do you have a favorite jingle? What about it caught your ear, so to speak? When I was little, mine was Almond Joy Mounds. Now that, my friends, is jingle magic all the way! See if your favorite is on this Top 10 Jingles of All Time list prepared by CreativeReady.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can create some jingle magic of your own with Air Design’s Jingle Contest. Check it out here.

About Heather Carroll

Heather Carroll joined the Agency in 1996 and is involved with nearly every aspect of copywriting and content development, including print, PR, television, radio, digital and social media. She graduated from Pensacola Junior College with honors and went on to attend the University of West Florida. She has 20 years’ experience as a copywriter/editor and project manager.

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