A jingle writer has done his job well when you’re annoyed by the fact that you can’t get that catchy tune out of your head. It’s a song about a product — you heard it once and now it’s following you around, meaning you’re forced to remember the product.
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Jingles have existed since radio became commercialized in the early 20th century, but the contemporary jingle as we know it was born when an a capella group sang about Wheaties over the radio. They noticed a spike in the popularity of Wheaties in Minnesota, where the jingle had aired, so they decided to make it national. Sales went through the roof.
The jingle literally saved the cereal — General Mills had been ready to discontinue it.
The commercial jingle has since made its way to television, but according to HowStuffWorks, it is currently in decline. Advertisers are tending to licence pre-existing pop songs for use with a commercial. In 1987, Nike licensed the song “Revolution” by The Beatles for use in a television commercial and dramatically changed the advertising landscape — why write a new song for your product when you can reappropriate one written by a renowned band or musician?
Whether we start seeing a return of the jingle or not, here are some of our favourite commercial jingles from recent memory.
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