Are advertising jingles still relevant?

By June 29, 2017General

Well-known jingles and advertising slogans can take you back to your childhood in an instant – in fact, they’re pretty much etched in our brains. From R Wights lemonade to Aquafresh, they’re hugely memorable for many of us.

When a jingle is done right it’s tuneful, catchy, easy to remember (or should we say hard to forget…) and can play on your emotions.

Advertisers hope that consumers will subconsciously recall their little ditties when they’re making a purchase, and that this will compel them to buy their product. This may have worked in a pre-digital world, but is this style of marketing still effective and relevant today?

Before the days of mobile phones and tablets, we’d spend leisure time in front of the TV (choosing from just 4 or 5 channels) or listening to the radio.

We were a captive audience and were usually in one spot, taking it all in. Today, we get our entertainment from mobile devices and are usually on the move trying to get more than one thing done at once.

We use our devices as an on-demand service, and we can opt out of advertising with a tap or a swipe – or even block ads altogether.

On top of all this, the digital arena is pretty cluttered. We’re engaging with search engines, social media channels, websites, podcasts etc. constantly and as a result we’re being faced with thousands of brand messages a day – so it’s harder for brands to make their message memorable.

In fact, with the hundreds of TV and radio stations on offer today, the ability to make a jingle heard by a significant audience is hard enough.

Having said this, some of the best jingles have been around for years and don’t seem to be going anywhere. You don’t have to like them, but you’ll certainly remember them (think Go Compare!).

It’s no surprise that a massive brand like McDonalds have a jingle that’s still very relevant today. “I’m Lovin’ It” has been around since September 2003 and you don’t even need the lyrics any more to know it’s a commercial for the fast food giant; all you need to hear is “bah dah bah bah bah,” and you can taste that Big Mac.

How to make it work.

Maybe the best approach for brands today is to turn to nostalgia; either by bringing back old jingles or by using iconic music. In this way the hard work is done, and instead of trying to captivate people with a new tune, you’re capitalising on the warm feeling consumers get from hearing an oldie.

If brands can create content that makes consumers feel nostalgic, it’s pretty standard that they’ll then start to feel good, and this is key when you’re trying to grow a loyal following and get consumers to fall in love with your brand.

Gillette do this well: in 2000 we had Don’t Stand So Close To Me by The Police and then in 2003 they used Bananarama’s Venus.

While jingles may not be right for every brand, they can be memorable brand assets that consumers will recall for years; so they’re still worth considering in the digital era.

Hotcow is a non-traditional creative agency that specialises in experiential marketing that goes viral. Our campaigns generate buzz through crowd participation, PR and content sharing. Contact us on 0207 5030442 or email us on