We asked our CEO Jamie Aplin what it takes to write a successful advertising jingle. Here’s what he had to say:
CR: What does the process looks like when you’re writing and producing a new jingle? What comes first – the melody, the instrumentation or the lyrics?
JAMIE: It always starts with a solid tagline or sell-line (or branding statement, positioning statement … whatever you want to call it.) So that’s the McDonalds “I’m Lovin’ It” or Huggies “I’m A Big Kid Now!” etc. Once you’ve crafted your branding statement you need to make sure it translates into a singable format, which is called your melody. Those two components are the foundation of your jingle and it’s crucial that you get them right. If you try to enforce a complicated sell-line or something that’s not easily retained, you’ve missed the mark. And the same goes for your melody. If it’s not catchy or it doesn’t have a hook, it won’t stick with the listener.
The tricky part is convincing your client that it’s not always a good idea to sing their business name. For example, if their business is called “Anchor Bay Laser Vision & Eye Correction Center” – you probably shouldn’t try to sing that (laughs) – although it’s been done many times before. The days of a full 30 second sing are long gone. You want something that is short and sweet. Something that’s going to stick. It also helps if you can use a commonly used term or phrase.
So instead of singing “Anchor Bay Laser Vision & Eye Correction Center” you may consider a tagline such as “You’re Going To Love What You See.” This not only keeps the jingle memorable but it connects with the listener far more than any business name ever could. It makes it all about your customer not your business. After all, aren’t they the ones you’re trying to connect with? If you’re looking to evoke a response from your audience, you have a far better chance of doing that with a statement like “You’re Going To Love What You See!” You can always work your business name into the copy.
So, once you’ve settled on your tagline and melody, you can get to work on the arrangement (the musical composition). It’s fairly straight forward from that point on. Just make sure you hire a producer and studio musicians that are at the professional level. Don’t hire your best friend’s teenage son just because he has his own “recording studio.” Nothing is worse than a musical arrangement that sounds amature or worse, something that’s stuck in the 80s. Hire professionals to record your jingle and preferably talent that’s not distracted with plans for their comeback tour.
Oh, and you also want to make sure the musical arrangement reflects the tone of your client’s business or more importantly – the tone of your client’s customer. Your funeral home client probably won’t react well to a top 40 pop arrangement. Just sayin!
CR: Wow, that’s great! But also a lot. So just to recap, would it be safe to say it boils down to these three things:
1. A memorable tagline.
2. A singable melody.
3. Professional production/talent.
JAMIE: Yep. I think that about covers it.