Are Jingles Worth the Money?
Last week Tristan Clopet wrote an excellent piece about audio branding on the Ad Age blog. The main question in the article was whether jingles or music licensing, aka borrowing a pre-written pop song, was better for a brand.
First off, I want to say that I agree with much of what Tristan has to say and I also agree with the comments too! What I want to do in this article is to expand on the discussion.
If you’ve been in the advertising world for any length of time you will understand that when I say the word jingle it can send a shutter down your back, but it’s not all bad. Jingles in fact are an important part of the audio branding mix. To lesson the confusion, audio branding consultancies tend to call the modern jingle an audio logo or an audio mnemonic. All these names mean the same thing – using audio to create an easy way for people to remember your brand.
One of the challenges brands have is that in trying to keep up with pop culture, or the Joneses for that matter, they sometimes try to pawn the value of a star. A lot of times this approach is similar to celebrity endorsements and all the headaches that can come with them. In many cases, this is a high-risk, high-reward proposition as explained in this Northwestern University article.
From an audio branding standpoint, the biggest hurdle to overcome is that you will be dealing with rented property. This means that when your agreement expires you might as well kiss that brand equity goodbye. The other problem, as we discuss here, is that another company can use the song, which essentially wipes out any value you’ve created. Of course, if you understand these risks and know how to mitigate them, music artist partnerships can be a powerful part of your audio branding mix.
Now, lets take a look at jingles. There are many good examples of companies using jingles for their brand, but recently two of the best are McDonald’s and Coca-Cola. In both cases we’ve found examples of the companies adding their audio signature to the main part of their advertising. Simply put, they’ve found a way to integrate their audio logo into the lexicon of how their brand sounds. The thing to remember is that this is owned property, no other company can use their sound.
All in all, we believe that using music for your brand needs to take a strategic approach. This applies to owned properties and rental properties. It’s also important to remember, like most marketing, not to put all of your eggs in one basket and to discover when is the best time to implement an audio branding strategy. That said, music artist partnerships will play an important role in keeping your brand at the forefront of pop culture so long as you remember your strategic objectives.
Let me know what brands you recognize from their sound? What songs and bands do you associate with a particular brand?